Reclamations slaughtering Bohai Bay birds

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    I've been sent link to a sobering article (on same day I've seen some photos from researchers seeing spoon-billed sandpipers on breeding grounds…)

    It begins:

    While most scientists are proud of their breakthroughs, Dutch ornithologist Theunis Piersma, who discovered and named after himself a subspecies of the red knot (Calidris canutus), says he's ashamed to talk about the creature. "I feel very proud to have these birds named after me, but I fear that they may actually become extinct in my lifetime," the 54-year-old told a recent conference in the coastal city of Tangshan, Hebei province. The red knot subspecies piersmai is among many migratory shorebirds that make the inter-tidal mudflat in Luannan wetland a critical stop along their annual migrations from Australia to the Arctic.

    As booming industry continues to devour the mudflat – one of Bohai Bay's last – these birds are losing the key resting site of their migrations and will likely face extinction.

    Beijing Normal University ornithologist Zhang Zhengwang says: "While Bohai Bay is undergoing fast economic development, it's losing its biodiversity."

    – so horribly sad. I first went to Bohai area, especially Beidaihe, in mid-1980s; remember wild stretches of coast, with only few farmers and tiny villages in sight; remember first seeing mudflats to the southeast of Tianjin [just outside main area for reclamations I believe, so far… – but still threats], and soon after making visit to place that became known as Happy Island: where big flocks of both knot species roosted at high tide.

    Since then, we've known of S Korea destroying the massive Saemangeum coastal wetland, with little fuss from international conservation community; and now seems China is hell-bent on doing likewise not so far away.

    Add a "great wall" of wind turbines existing or planned at north of the bay, and this pivotal area for migration – among the very best areas in the world – is in dire situation.


    Email I've sent members of Oriental Bird Club; the report I mention is well worth reading:

    Thanks for info on the report; I missed link on IUCN site, found by googling the report title:

    'IUCN situation analysis on East and

    Southeast Asian intertidal habitats, with particular reference to the Yellow

    Sea (including the Bohai Sea).'

    There's only brief mention of wind farms, which I emailed group about earlier. Think I mentioned seeing map indicating existing/planned projects that would create a "Great Wall of Wind Farms" along north of Bay of Bohai.

    I'd learned of this after being asked to comment on plans for wind farm by Linghai reserve, at north coast of the bay, Liaoning Province.

    Yesterday's SCM Post had short news item:

    Administrator of Linghai reserve had been reinstated; after region's authorities reassigned him following him fining two state-owned firms for building a wind farm that reduced reserve area by 7,000ha.

    – I'd seen map of Linghai area, including part showing wind farm right within heart of the reserve.

    It's just further horrific development, as China like some gold rush country, with officials hellbent on getting all they can into their pockets; and now the coastal mudflats seen as easy targets for reclamations, wind farms, whatever; never mind about future for fisheries, or "national treasures: like red-crowned cranes, treaties on protecting migratory species.

    Mudflat devastation all the easier when, as with Korea's Saemangeum, seems international conservation community could hardly care less.

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