On the way to Mongolia for the Cuckoo Project, I spent three days with Josh Jones, Ben Wielstra, Jocko Hammar and Chris Campion in Wuerqihan. This small logging town is situated in northern Inner Mongolia on the edge of the taiga forest. It is a wonderful place to spend a few days in summer as it’s a breeding area for many Siberian birds including Japanese Quail, Great Grey Owl, Siberian Rubythroat, Radde’s, Dusky, Thick-billed Warblers, Lanceolated, Pallas’s Grasshopper, Gray’s Grasshopper and Pale-legged Leaf Warblers, Siberian and Eyebrowed Thrushes, Pacific Swift, Common, Indian and Oriental Cuckoos, Common Rosefinch, Yellow-breasted Bunting and many more. Swinhoe’s Rail was recently discovered here and Far Eastern Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit breed in the wet meadows.
Early morning and evening, a cacophony of bird sound fills the air and the beautifully still mornings enabled me to capture a sample, recorded from three different locations around the town. One of the first things to strike me was the abundance of Common Cuckoos; it was impossible to make a recording without hearing the wonderful “cuck-oo” call, as if it was ‘on repeat’.
Listen carefully and a rich array of species can be heard including flycatchers, thrushes, warblers and rosefinches.
How many species can you hear? I believe there are at least 17 species vocalising in this clip.. but there are probably more!
Please leave a comment with any species you can name…
Followers of Birding Beijing’s Twitter feed (@BirdingBeijing) will know that Team Cuckoo (Chris Hewson of BTO, Dick Newell, Lyndon Kearsley and Terry Townshend) has been in Mongolia, partnering with the Wildlife Science and Conservation Center (WSCC) to begin a new cuckoo tracking project.
The Mongolia Cuckoo Project is a partnership between the WSCC and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), facilitated by Birding Beijing and supported by the Oriental Bird Club.
The project builds on the success of the Beijing Cuckoo Project and aims to discover more about the wintering grounds and migration routes of cuckoos in East Asia, as well as engaging the public through naming and following the birds.
From 5-8 June, the team was based at Khurkh Bird Banding Station in northern Mongolia, an 8-hour drive from the capital Ulan Bator. Here, Tuvshinjargal Erdenechimeg, the manager of the ringing station, works with volunteers to ring migratory birds each spring and autumn. The site is stunning – a lush valley with a tributary of the river Onon at its heart, nestled between hills of rolling grassland just south of the Russian border.
On arrival, we were told by the ringers that they had just caught a probable ORIENTAL CUCKOO in the nets. Without hearing it sing, this species is tricky to separate from COMMON CUCKOO. However, using criteria relating to the number of pale spots on the underside of the primaries and the colour and markings on the innermost underwing coverts, it can be done. Sure enough, the bird the ringers had caught was an ORIENTAL CUCKOO and, being unaware of any of this species being tracked before, we fitted a transmitter to this individual and released it.
There are records of ORIENTAL CUCKOO from SE Asia and Australia in the northern winter and, intriguingly, according to HBW there is a record of a specimen from Zambia…! Assuming it stays healthy, it’ll be fascinating to see the movements of this bird.
The same day, after heavy rain for several hours in the afternoon, we caught and tagged a male COMMON CUCKOO in the early evening, just a couple of hundred metres from the camp.
On our second full day, the weather was cold, windy and wet for several hours but as soon as the rain stopped, we were out to set up the nets further along the valley.. and within five minutes had caught an incredible five cuckoos!
One was a beautiful female ‘hepatic’ (rufous morph) bird, unfortunately too small to carry a tag (there are strict guidelines about the relative weight of the tag and the bird’s body weight to ensure the tag effect is as small as possible), as well as another small ORIENTAL CUCKOO. The other three were good-sized male COMMON CUCKOOS; we fitted tags to two of them and released the third bird after fitting a metal ring (the tagging process can take 30-40 minutes, so we didn’t want the third bird to be waiting around for too long).
After processing these birds, we set off to the local town of Binder to participate in a crane festival. Here we met up with George Archibald, founder of the International Crane Foundation, and joined in the celebration. The art exhibition produced by the local children was magical. Despite encouragement, we couldn’t persuade BTO’s Chris Hewson to represent Team Cuckoo in the Mongolian wrestling competition…!
The visit to the town provided us with an opportunity to visit the local school to speak with the students about the cuckoo project and to invite them to name two of the birds. The students, who have recently set up an “Eco Club”, were impressively knowledgeable about their local birds and were excited to be part of the project.. They quickly put forward several names and, after a vote, decided on two – “нүүдэлчин” (English translation: Nomad) and “Онон” (English translation: Onon), after the local river that runs through the town. The students are looking forward to following “their” birds over the next few weeks, months and hopefully years.
Day three saw us travel around 30 minutes from the camp to a small copse on a hillside and no sooner had we arrived than we heard two male COMMON CUCKOOS singing. After setting up the nets, again we quickly caught one of the males. Cuckoo number five was ‘in the bag’ after only two and half days in the field.
And so, it is with much excitement and expectation that we can introduce the five Mongolian Cuckoos we’ll be tracking..
Names will be given to the currently un-named three cuckoos over the next few weeks.
As with the Beijing Cuckoo Project, we’ve created a special web page which will be updated regularly with the cuckoo’s movements. Already, there’s been a big move by one of the five! Check out the page to find out details. You can also follow their progress via Twitter (@BirdingBeijing).
“Team Cuckoo” would like to express huge thanks to the Mongolian team, especially Nyambayar Batbayar, Batmunkh Davaasuren and Tuvshinjargal Erdenechimeg, to the British Trust for Ornithology and to the Oriental Bird Club and Mr Dick Newell for making the project possible.
We can be sure that these avian travellers will surprise, impress, enthral and, most of all, inspire us. We can’t wait to learn more about these incredible birds.
A few months ago, I wrote a short article with some ideas for how Beijing could become better for wildlife. The article was prompted by the fact that, in 2020, China is due to host the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and, with thousands of delegates from 180+ countries due to descend on the country, including many journalists, it would be a brilliant opportunity to help improve China’s image on the environment by devising and implementing meaningful plans to make the country better for wildlife. And what better place to start than Beijing?
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the Beijing government and delighted to discover that they were a step ahead; a significant amount of money (I have heard 20 billion CNY) has been allocated to develop and implement a strategic plan to make the city better for wildlife. The government has commissioned Peking University to help develop plans.
In the last two weeks I have participated in two meetings with the Beijing Municipal Government and Peking University during which we have discussed many ideas, including those put forward in my original article from last year. And last week I was invited to deliver a lecture to all staff in the Beijing Forest and Parks Bureau after which I was formally invited to be part of the team working on this project.
Beijing has a solid foundation. The Chinese capital lies on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, a major migratory route for birds, and has recorded around 500 species, a total that is better than almost all other major capital cities in the world. Additionally, in the mountains around the city, mammals such as Siberian Roe Deer, Raccoon Dog, Wild Boar, Hog Badger and Leopard Cat can be found. It is not a stretch to imagine the return of the Common Leopard, a species that was present in Beijing until just a few decades ago and is now thought to be making a comeback via the mountains to the west in Hebei and Shanxi. One was recently caught on camera less than 50km from the capital’s boundary. How many major capital cities have multiple species of wild cat?
As is often the case in China’s policymaking, projects are likely to take place on a pilot basis to test the feasibility, practicality and effectiveness before, if successful, being scaled up.
One such pilot will involve part of the Wenyu River, traditionally one of Beijing’s best birding spots but which has recently suffered from the clearance of vegetation, planting of inappropriate trees and, in places, reinforcing the banks with concrete.
The pilot, which will include a stretch of over 10km of Beijing’s “Mother River”, will aim to show the benefits to wildlife of shallow banks, muddy fringes and natural vegetation. This pilot is important for another reason – it will be the first major collaboration between the Beijing Forest and Parks Department (which manages the land) and the Water Bureau (which manages the reservoirs and rivers, including the margins). We know that rivers are important corridors for wildlife and this project, if successful, will hopefully influence the way the Water Bureau manages Beijing’s rivers and could open the way for some exploratory discussions about the future management of Miyun Reservoir.
The idea of “10% Wild” – allowing 10 per cent of some of Beijing’s major city parks to grow wild – seems to be gaining traction and it’s something that we’ll be discussing in more detail over the next few weeks.
“Urban oases” or a series of stepping stones for migratory birds, possibly linked by a “wild ring road”, a ‘wildlife audit’ involving local schools, restoring habitat in the mountains and plains and introducing biodiversity criteria into Beijing’s vociferous tree-planting campaign are all ideas being discussed.
I have been struck by the enthusiasm and sincerity of the Beijing Municipal government, in particular Director Wang Xiaoping and his staff, and I am excited to work with them and Peking University over the next few months and years to support the city’s efforts. Suddenly, the vision of Beijing being the “capital of biodiversity” doesn’t seem such a long way off.
I’d like to thank James Phillips from Natural England who passed on some excellent information about biodiversity and agriculture projects that have worked in England.
With thanks to journalist, Thomas Bird, a ‘long-read’ about birding in China’s capital has just been published in the South China Morning Post.
In addition to celebrating the birds that can be found in China’s capital city, this article is significant for two reasons.
First, it shines a light on the use of mist nets, both legally as a tool to address the risk of bird strikes at China’s (300+) airports, and illegally to trap wild birds for the cage bird and exotic food trade. The former is an ineffective way to address the risk of bird strikes and the latter is largely driven by demand in South China.
Second, the South China Morning Post happens to be owned by Ma Yun (known as Jack Ma in the west), the billionaire founder of Alibaba and owner of Taobao, the online shopping platform which freely sells mist nets and other poaching tools. Ma is one of China’s richest men, in fact one of the wealthiest people in Asia. According to Bloomberg, he had a net worth of USD 44.9 billion as of December 2017.
We’re delighted that the editors allowed the link between Taobao and illegal poaching to be published and, presuming Jack Ma reads his own newspaper, this article can only help to raise awareness and put some pressure on Alibaba to restrict the sale of mist nets.
Let’s remember that, in late 2020, China will host the most significant meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity for many years, at which governments are expected to agree on new targets to slow, stop and reverse the decline of biodiversity from 2020. If I was Jack Ma, I would want to ensure that Alibaba and, in particular, Taobao, was playing its part in supporting biodiversity and was not part of the problem. It would be embarrassing and seriously harmful to the company’s reputation if, when the world’s eyes are on China, journalists focused on the role of Taobao/Alibaba in the illegal wildlife trade and poaching. I am sure shareholders would not be pleased.
Previous reporting about the sale of critically endangered Yellow-breasted Buntings on Alibaba’s Taobao can be seen here.
Inspired by Twitter users who were asking about the identity of birds seen locally this spring, and a forthcoming article in the South China Morning Post, I’ve put together a list of ten birds to look out for in the capital this Spring. It’s by no means an exhaustive list – in fact, I could have picked a different ten for every day of the week! However, it is illustrative of the variety and diversity of the birds that are, right now, either passing through the capital on their way from wintering grounds as far away as southern Africa and Australia, to more northerly breeding grounds in north China, Mongolia and Russia, or raising a family right here in Beijing.
The scale of the migration happening around us right now is hard to comprehend. Millions of birds of hundreds of different species will be flying over Beijing in the next few weeks, most of which will pass undetected at night as we sleep. A few will stop over in one of the many parks, wetlands, rivers, forests or even small green spaces in residential areas to rest and refuel, offering us a privileged opportunity to observe them. Knowing a little about these birds, and the journeys they are making will, I hope, help us to better appreciate these birds and the places they need to survive on these marathon journeys.
Ma Chang, in Yanqing County, northwest Beijing, is my absolute favourite birding site in April. Although not particularly glamourous with a series of wind turbines, small-scale agriculture and lots of litter left by the tourists who visit to ride horses or drive beach buggies, its geography – on the southeastern shore of Guanting Reservoir – makes it a wonderful place for migration. Early in the month there is a good chance of spotting the spectacular ORIENTAL PLOVER on its way from wintering grounds in Australia to breeding grounds in Inner and Outer Mongolia, and it’s a brilliant place to experience good numbers of pipits and wagtails as they make their way north. WHITE WAGTAILS lead the charge and five of the six subspecies recorded in Beijing have been seen here – leucopsis, ocularis, baicalensis, ‘eastern alba‘ and personata. I am sure it is only a matter of time before the sixth subspecies – lugens – is recorded at this site.
Groups of Citrine Wagtails pass through and it’s not uncommon to see flocks of 20+. Water Pipits are gradually eclipsed by Buff-bellied Pipits as the month progresses and several hundred of the latter can be seen in the middle of the month, with Red-throated, Richard’s and Blyth’s joining the fray a little later. The vagrant Meadow Pipit has also been recorded here several times in early April.
Last Monday I spent a few hours at Ma Chang at the end of the day. There were some tourists riding horses, a few buggies being driven around, it was windy and my expectations were not high. Nevertheless, I found a lovely mixed group of White and Citrine Wagtails on the foreshore and was enjoying watching them feed on the flying insects close to the water.
The White Wagtails were dominated by ocularis (“Siberian Wagtail”) with a few leucopsis (“Chinese Wagtail”) and a couple of baicalensis (“Baikal Wagtail”). As I was observing these birds, I heard a faint sound that reminded me of SWINHOE’S RAIL. It was a vocalisation I had first heard at Wuerqihan in Inner Mongolia in June 2018. I immediately dismissed the thought – a singing SWINHOE’S RAIL in Beijing would be ridiculous, surely! But as soon as I had re-trained my concentration on the wagtails, I heard it again… and again. The sound was faint, coming towards me from a small inaccessible island of grass and a few small trees, against the wind, and was competing to be heard amongst the din of revolving wind turbines, the wind itself and calling Black-headed Gulls and Black-winged Stilts.
I moved as close to the sound as I could and listened, intently. There it was again, this time a fraction clearer. Fortunately I had my sound recording kit with me and I scrambled to retrieve it from my backpack whilst hoping that the vocalisations would continue.
They did, and I managed to record a few snippets before the source fell silent, coinciding with a low pass by a hunting Eurasian Sparrowhawk.
A few minutes later I heard the sound again, three maybe four times before again it fell silent.
I was fairly sure the sound was of a SWINHOE’S RAIL but given the magnitude of the record, I had to consider the possibility of it being a frog or a cricket.
I was planning to stay overnight close by and hoped that, in the early morning with less wind and much reduced background noise, I may be able to hear the vocalisation more clearly if the bird was still there. At the guest house, I looked at the sonogram of the sound I had recorded and compared it with that from my recordings of Swinhoe’s Rail from Inner Mongolia last June. The sonogram of the sound from Ma Chang looked good on the screen – 6 or 7 notes in each vocalisation at a frequency of 2kHz. Wow.
The following morning I was on site before dawn and it was wonderfully still – perfect conditions to listen and record sounds. Sadly, I never heard it again. Despite the sonogram looking very good for SWINHOE’S RAIL, I was keen on a second opinion. I sent the recording to a few local birders and most thought it sounded good but cautioned about their lack of experience with the species. Then Paul Holt replied, agreeing that it was indeed a SWINHOE’S RAIL. That gave me the confidence to put out the news – thanks Paul!
Swinhoe’s Rail (Coturnicops exquisitus) is one of east Asia’s least known birds. Traditionally, the most reliable place to encounter it was in the wet grass around Poyang Lake, Jiangxi Province, in winter but sightings from there have become increasingly scarce.. and due to its secretive behaviour, it is encountered only infrequently on migration, even in relatively well-watched areas such as Happy Island and Beidaihe in coastal China.
It was only three years ago that Wieland Heim, Tom Wulf and Alex Thomas (of the Amur Birding Project) first recorded the ‘song’ of this secretive bird at Muraviovka Park in southeastern Russia. And in July 2017, armed with this new knowledge, Paul Holt was the first to discover singing birds in China at Wuerqihan in northern Inner Mongolia. I was fortunate to visit Wuerqihan in June 2018 and recorded its song and trill.
In the last few days, birders from across the capital have been reporting the return of the Beijing Swift (Apus apus pekinensis). The first record seems to have been one at the TongHuiHe by 岳小鸮 (Yuè xiǎo xiāo) on 1st April. This was followed by another single at Peking University on 9th April (Yang Hua) and then nine at Baiwangshan, a traditional migration watchpoint in the northwest of the city (小隼仙人) on 10th. Yesterday, 11th April, the staff at ZhengYangMen (正阳门), a traditional breeding site at the southern end of Tiananmen Square, reported sightings, too.
It is only a few weeks ago that these birds could have been circling over Table Mountain in Cape Town in South Africa having almost certainly spent the entire northern winter on the wing – an incredible feat of endurance and stamina that is hard to comprehend.
With several Beijing schools having built and erected nest boxes for the Beijing Swift over the last few months, we are keeping everything crossed that some of the birds arriving in the capital will find and choose to breed in these newly-built homes. We’re hopeful, too, that students from these schools will be able to meet with the CEOs of some of China’s largest building companies to tell the story of the Beijing Swift, outline what their schools are doing to help and to ask the CEOs to trial ‘swift-friendly’ buildings in Beijing. Watch this space!
Title image showing the autumn migration route of the Beijing Swift to southern Africa courtesy of Lyndon Kearsley.
When we conceived the concept of the Beijing Cuckoo Project back in 2015, we had two aims. First, to discover the wintering grounds, and migration route, of Common Cuckoos from East Asia. And second, to inspire the public, especially people who wouldn’t ordinarily care about migratory birds.
When a project like this begins, it’s impossible to know what sort if impact it may have, and whilst the results – discovering that Beijing’s Cuckoos spend the winter in Mozambique and cross the Arabian Sea from India to East Africa and back again – and the associated media coverage were way beyond our expectations, there are sometimes additional benefits that cannot be foreseen.
A few months ago I was contacted by an environmental education organisation who asked if I’d mind if they developed a pop-out educational book for students about the Beijing Cuckoos. Of course, I was delighted!
Over the weekend, I received some photos showing the prototype book being tested with a class of students.
I understand the book will soon be available as a PDF and will be circulated to a network of schools across Beijing and, we hope, across the country. A wonderful legacy for the Beijing Cuckoo Project!
When birding at Lingshan, Beijing’s highest mountain in far western Mentougou District, it’s not uncommon to see mammal scat. Tolai Hare is common and I’ve also seen Siberian Rose Deer, Hog Badger and evidence of Wild Boar. A few weeks ago I spotted some scat that looked suspiciously like cat scat. Amur Leopard Cats (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilura) are seen occasionally in Beijing (I’ve enjoyed three sightings myself, including one in broad daylight). However, although probably not uncommon in the mountains around Beijing, Amur Leopard Cats are difficult to see due to their primarily nocturnal habits. And, in the context of Lingshan, there are a couple of small villages close by, so there is always the chance of a domestic cat roaming around.
I decided to set up a camera trap on the trail where I had found the scat and leave it there for a month. Yesterday I retrieved it and was delighted, first to find the camera trap was still there, and second to find a total of 11 images of Amur Leopard Cat, the best four of which are below. The lightly spotted coat, thick tail and pale vertical stripes on the face are all good features of this wild cat, currently treated as a subspecies of Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis).
It just goes to show that one doesn’t need to travel to the Tibetan Plateau to see wild cats.. they’re thriving in the capital city of the world’s most populous country!
It’s been a busy week in Beijing for the Valley of the Cats. First, last Wednesday evening, I was invited by the Royal Asiatic Society to speak about the community-based wildlife watching tourism project during a special event held at The Bookworm. I shared the platform with John MacKinnon, who has just returned from two weeks in the Valley having recorded a fantastic 20-minute film about this special place, its people and the wildlife, all taken against the stunning backdrop of some of the heaviest snow in living memory. Once edited, we plan to to publish the film shortly.
We were honoured to be joined by 12-year old Joyce Li whose dream of seeing a Snow Leopard came true during her visit to the Valley of the Cats last year. Joyce’s enthusiastic account of her experience encapsulated the magic of the Valley and I know from speaking with her that she is now a committed wildlife champion! This is her written account:
The First Encounter
“In October 2018, I went to the Valley of the Cats along with my parents, to look for the elusive snow leopard. This is a simple recount of my first encounter with this mysterious big cat.
On the second day of our trip, we woke up at 6:00 am, washed, downed some porridge, and we were off. It was snowing outside, with hares popping up in front of our car lights. They froze whenever we passed, too terrified to move.
About an hour had passed, and the sky had lightened up, and rays of sunlight peeked through the mountains. The snow blanketed the slopes and we searched them for any sign of a big cat. We even asked a local if he’d spotted one. He said that he had seen a carcass of a dead sheep around here, killed by a predator, and we continued searching. We came across quite a few herds of blue sheep and white-lipped deer, but no snow leopard. We decided to move to a new location. Suddenly, Yixi, our guide, started running up the slopes, and we followed him, scrambling up the mountainside. When he stopped, we caught up to him, Yixi said that he thought he had spotted a large animal feeding off a dead sheep. We were buzzing with excitement. But it was only a large dog, picking off the scrap bits of meat.
With no more signs of anything interesting, we decided to stop by Yixi’s cousin’s and have a nice cup of tea. After resting up, we went looking for the snow leopard again, and asked Yixi’s cousin for some help on the walkie talkie. Yixi drove us along the dirt road again, and I fell asleep.
I was already awake when mom called, and still deciding whether to snooze for a few minutes more, but when I heard the words “snow leopard”, all thought of another nap disappeared. Yixi came rushing back to us (he was out searching for snow leopards while we rested in the car) and told us that his cousin had spotted one across the valley. We sped along the small dirt road to the spot where the snow leopard was last found. We raced up the mountain, panting and out of breath, and threw our equipment down. It took a LOT of searching for us to spot the snow leopard, it was so well camouflaged on the rocks, with its grey and white pelt.
The snow leopard seemed quite lazy and full, because when a herd of blue sheep came by, it made no move to hunt, instead lounging on a rock. A few minutes later of cameras clicking and admiring the big cat, the King of the Snow Mountains decided to take a little nap, and disappeared behind the rocks. We waited for another hour, and the sky had turned dark. It didn’t reappear, so we went home too, to a warm dinner.”
The Second Encounter
“It was our third day, and we were up in the mountains, searching again for the mysterious snow leopard. We parked outside Yixi’s cousin’s house, watching them milk their yak and collecting their dung for fueling fires. Someone had spotted a red fox up the mountain, and we rushed to see. We were snapping away at the little creature, until Yixi yelled “Sa!” which means snow leopard in Tibetan. The poor fox was suddenly not the center of attention anymore. We scrambled to follow Yixi, and set up our equipment. There were two of them! They were a little far away, but we could see their big furry heads poking up. Sometimes a fluffy tail would appear and wave around. An hour later, they went down the mountain to somewhere we couldn’t see. We tried searching for them again, but with no success.
We moved to a new part of the valley, and waited an entire four hours for a snow leopard to appear. No luck. Not even when we spotted three herds of blue sheep, the snow leopard’s favorite snack. So after a while, we just started to eat snacks and not really bother looking. About twenty minutes later of infinite boredom and listening to dad’s observations of blue sheep and their horns and markings, Mr. Puma, a local guide for another group (we call him because he was wearing a puma jacket), drove up the little dirt road (you could hardly call it a road, path more like it), and shouted that the two snow leopard siblings we saw in the morning were spotted again, on the same mountain, but this time closer.
We descended the slopes as fast as we could, trying not to let large piles of yak manure get in our way, and scrambled in to our car.
When we arrived, there seemed to be nothing in sight, but two little ears gave the snow leopards’ hiding place away. The two siblings were having a very nice afternoon snooze. We waited, and waited, and waited for them to stir. A while later, a big furry paw raised, and playfully cuffed it’s sibling on the head. A few seconds later, the paw disappeared. When it reappeared again, this time a paw and one of the snow leopard’s heads, it was to very excited rapid clicking from our cameras. Soon after they’d woken up, the snow leopards were play fighting. They also sprayed and rubbed rocks to make what we guessed were border marks. We captured photos and videos of them digging holes, then pooping in them, which was also a form of marking their territory, as we later learned.
It was getting dark, and all too soon, we had to go. Apparently the snow leopards agreed, because they climbed back to their hiding spot. It had been an amazing day, and I was literally dancing on the rocks.
After dinner, we visited the Research Station to meet a volunteer who’s coming here today, who has lived in Qinghai for a year, studying wildlife and their behavior. When we told the researchers we had seen two young snow leopards, they wowed and congratulated us. I asked the volunteer some questions on snow leopard behavior, and she confirmed that the snow leopards were indeed marking their territory by pooping and spraying. We also learned that young snow leopard siblings, no matter what gender they are, can stay together for a few months after becoming independent from their mother. I had once thought that only females will stay together, because males will be aggressive towards each other, as adult males often are.
Another amazing and fruitful day in the Valley of Cats!”
March 10th, 2019
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening with some great questions and conversation after the presentations. I am confident many of the participants will be booking their trips to the Valley very soon! A big thanks to Alan and Melinda of the Royal Asiatic Society for inviting us and to The Bookworm for hosting us for this special event.
I arrived at The Bookworm directly from the studios of Radio Beijing International who had invited me for an interview about the Valley of the Cats project. The interview was broadcast in two segments over the weekend and can be heard here.
Big thanks to Christine from Radio Beijing International for the opportunity!
With several bookings already for 2019, we are hoping that we’ll be able to build on the success of 2018 during which 61 groups of guests visited, raising CNY 460,000 for the local community and snow leopard conservation.