China to step up protection of endangered Chinese mergansers
CHANGCHUN, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- A project to strengthen the protection of Chinese mergansers, an endangered bird species commonly found in northeast China's Jilin Province, was launched on Thursday.
According to the project's managers, the province aims to increase the number of such bird to over 400 pairs in the Changbai Mountain area by 2030.
"The species is very picky about its living environment and is sensitive to environmental changes, so it can be used to monitor ecological environments," said Wang Haitao, a professor with Northeast Normal University.
"Protecting the bird is also important for the ecological system and bio-diversity."
Survey results show that there have only been about 190 pairs of the bird seen in the Changbai Mountain area over the past decade, with only around 2,000 pairs living in other parts of the world.
The bird is believed to be threatened by challenges such as habitat fragmentation, a lack of food supply and problems brought about by rising tourism.
The species is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red list, with Russia's Far East and northeast China officially regarded as the bird's major reproduction bases.