China's plateau province records first images of endangered duck
XINING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Qinghai Province has recently captured images and video footage of the Chinese merganser, an endangered bird species under class-one state protection, local authorities said Wednesday.
It marks the first photo and video footage of the wildlife taken in the province, which helps fill in the blanks of the image record of the bird species in Qinghai.
The species is a Tertiary Period relict species and has lived on Earth for more than 10 million years. It is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's red list, with Russia's Far East and northeast China officially regarded as the bird's major reproduction bases.
It has been over three decades since the endangered duck was first spotted in Qinghai, according to a local chronicle on animals, said the wildlife protection office under the provincial forestry and grassland bureau.
The female Chinese merganser was first spotted in late January in a national wetland park in Xining, the provincial capital. Some birdwatchers and experts surveyed local bird diversity when they captured images of the species. Around mid-March, the endangered duck was found among other common mergansers in the same survey area.
The bird can be used to monitor the ecological environment as it is very picky about its living environment and is sensitive to environmental changes. Currently, the wildlife's global population is estimated to be around 2,000.
Its appearance in Qinghai further suggests the improving ecological environment of the Huangshui river basin, experts said.