Over 100 rare black storks settle in Beijing as environment improves

BEIJING (XINHUA) – With an improving ecological environment, Beijing has embraced a steady increase in the number of the rare black stork to more than 100, local authorities said last Thursday.

The habitat and feeding areas of the endangered bird have basically expanded from Beijing’s Fangshan District to the whole city, according to Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau.

As Class A protected animal in China, the black stork is an important environmental indicator as it is “picky” about its habitat, especially foraging waters, according to Deputy Director of Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Ji Jianwei.

“Due to lack of rainfall and a dry climate, many rivers in Beijing were seriously short of water or even dried up seasonally in the past,” Ji said. “Therefore, there were not many habitats suitable for black storks.” To protect the animal, the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau has strengthened the ecological restoration of Fangshan, the district where black storks frequent, and also established a “black stork protection community” for the reproduction, foraging and resting of the animal. Every winter when the black storks are unable to feed, the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre would organise personnel to feed the bird properly.

“Through continuous efforts, the population of the black stork in Fangshan District has reported steady growth, with its habitat gradually expanding across the capital,” Ji said. “The improving environment in Beijing has allowed them to increase their population and live in a wider range,” said Gao Wu, associate professor at Beijing Normal University.