Conservation and Research of the Crested Ibis
Instructor: Dale Donovan
Diversity of species plays an extremely important role in the human ecosystem. The extinction of one species may lead to the extinction of dozens of associated species. Thus, the demise of a certain species may result in the imbalance and even collapse of the entire ecosystem. Therefore, protecting and saving endangered species has a significant importance in maintaining the ecological balance and increasing the diversity of the ecosystem. The Crested ibis is a unique and precious waterfowl from China. It is one of the world's most endangered birds. It has survived for nearly 25 million years on Earth, but since this species was discovered, it went from being prosperous to the brink of extinction in no more than a century(Ding C Q 2002). The Crested ibis was widely distributed in Asia, but because of the destruction of the ecological environment that was caused by the production and living of human beings, the number of Crested ibis has become less and less. It was even thought to be extinct. It has an important scientific research value in terms of morphology, physiology, auxanology, genetics and disease prevention(Fan Z Y 2000). But since seven wild Crested ibises were found in Yang county of ShanXi province, after twenty years of observation and experiment, our protection workers have basically mastered the artificial feeding method and living habits of crested ibis. In recent years, the protection of the crested ibis has made remarkable achievements. The number of wild crested ibis has also been increased from seven to about six hundred. Since the majority of the habitat and activities areas of the Crested Ibis are located in Yang county, the level of economic development and the degree of protection of the ecological environment in the this county are directly related to the habitat and breeding of crested ibis(Liu D P et al.,2005). In nature, the natural death and accidental death of wild animals is an inevitable phenomenon and part of the process of species survival. However, for an endangered species, death in the wild has had a serious negative impact on its protection. There are some main causes of why the Crested ibis dies in wild. Firstly, they often abandon their nest and leave behind their squabs or eggs due to the harm of predators or the harsh living environment. Therefore, in the field protection process, artificial care should be strengthened, timely implementation of artificial treatment and cure in time of danger. Also, wraping blades or iron sheets on the trunk of tree can effectively prevent the destruction of nest that caused by snakes and mustelids. Under the nest, setting a certain height and area of nylon net can prevent chicks from getting injuries when they fall from the nest(Li Xinhai et al., 2009). Along with the population growth, the living conditions of the Crested ibis have been changed dramatically. Their tall nesting trees are being cut down, the feeding area as paddy field is reducing, and foraging waters are being polluted by pesticides and fertilizers. These are great threats to their living environment. Secondarily, some causes of death in adult Crested ibises is due to malnutrition, so we should make artificial feeding in the paddy field where they find food. We throw fish or loach into the paddy to increase their feeding condition, thereby increasing their rate of survival(Fujihara N., 2000). Thirdly, the Crested Ibis has a quiet temperament, normally acting in pairs or small groups, and is highly susceptible to human disturbance and scare. In order to protect this endangered species, the local government has issued a number of restrictive measures, such as prohibition of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in their habitat, prohibition of the felling of trees and building roads by blasting mountains and so on. But,...
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