SHENZHEN Bay is the world’s third-largest habitat for black-faced spoonbills with 336 of these birds being recorded in a census, according to the census report by Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS).
The census, carried out between Jan. 15 and Jan. 17 this year, showed that the number of black-faced spoonbills around the world reached 5,222, up 7.4 percent as opposed to last year, a new historical record.
The census, first conducted in 1994, covers more than 100 places worldwide and attracts nearly 200 bird watchers, researchers and ornithologists.
The number of the black-faced spoonbills saw a steady increase over the past 20 years.
According to the census, some 60 percent of the black-faced spoonbills or a total of 3,132 of them spend winter in China’s Taiwan, up 12.5 percent compared to last year. Japan became this year’s second-largest habitat with 570 black-faced spoonbills spotted.
Shenzhen Bay saw 336 black-faced spoonbills this winter, accounting for 6.4 percent of the total number of the birds on earth, but 36 fewer than last year.
There are 1,022 more black-faced spoonbills spotted in other areas on the Chinese mainland, including Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan.
Yu Ridong, senior research manager with HKBWS, noted that an increasing number of black-faced spoonbills around the world indicated progress in cross-regional conservation.
However, Shenzhen Bay saw a drop in terms of the number of black-faced spoonbills based on data.
Yu observed that this is due to a worsening wetland environment in the area.
Development projects over the past few years ruined the ecological system of Shenzhen Bay areas, threatening the black-faced spoonbills' habitat, according to Yu.
Experts called for reducing the impact of human activities on wetlands for migratory birds. In addition, international cooperation is also important to protect black-faced spoonbills.
It is said that black-faced spoonbill has been re-rated as level-1 national protected wild animal from level-2 in February this year, equal to the “panda of birds.”