Conservationists are used to bad news. It comes with the territory. Which means celebrating good news is even sweeter than usual! Last week something incredible happened in Tianjin, just a few hours from Beijing. A pair of Endangered ORIENTAL STORKS (Ciconia boyciana, 东方白鹳) was breeding on an electricity pylon. The local grid company was concerned about transmission safety and wanted to remove the nest. Local birders and conservation groups protested and appealed for help from international conservationists who had experience of this issue overseas, hence a plea on Twitter. Several people responded (thank you Eddie Myers, Keith Duncan and Anne Sytske Keijser), and we received some fantastic information from José Luis Copete in Spain and Guy Dutson in Australia. Local volunteers were able to use all of this information to persuade the company to erect a special platform adjacent to the original nest, allowing the storks to continue to breed whilst minimising the risk to grid safety. Happily the storks accepted the minor inconvenience! The full story (in Chinese), with photos, can be seen here. Big thanks to José Luis and Guy and, in particular, to the local volunteers, including our good friend Mo Xunqiang (Nemo), who, along with friends Yang Jiwen from Binhai Wild Protection Centre and Wang Jianmin from Tianjin Binhai Wetland and Bird Conservation Society, persuaded the company to take this action. As we understand it, it’s the first time in China that such action has been taken to preserve a nest considered to be a risk to electricity transmission security. Let’s hope it sets a precedent.
Featured photo by Mo Xunqiang.