• Office Visit of U.S. High Schoolers

    Figure1 Group Photo ©Mijin/EAAFP The 22 enthusiastic high-school students from US visited EAAFP Secretariat office on 12 July 2018. “Do you have any favorite bird in your mind?” Hyeseon Do, Programme Officer in EAAFP, started with this question and continued to explain about EAAFP. She detailed works in EAAFP such as Partners Working Groups, Task Forces, World Migratory Bird Day event, EAAF Sites in Alaska and so on. Not only about the what we do, she talked about what has been changed after our works as well. She rounded out her presentation showing video about conserving Spoon-billed Sandpipers’ journey directed by Vivian Fu. Figure 2 Lecture from Danhak ©Mijin/EAAFP In the touched atmosphere, provoking them to do conservation activity, Danhak Gu who is a Programme Assistant began her presentation while telling the beautiful life story of Bar-tailed Godwits. She pointed out the importance of habitat as a stopover site for migratory birds including Bar-tailed Godwit who flies long distance in the life time of over 10 years equal to the trip to the moon. “Let’s say if you are planning to make a road trip from Portland, Oregon to New Hampshire, you need to drop by gas station to refuel your car. Otherwise your car will be shut down in the middle of nowhere. Likewise, these birds need to refuel themselves to make all the way to their final destination” she added. Given the information, students are told how they can do for conserving activities. Danhak also introduced many activities they can do easily. In addition, she explained EAAFP Social Network Services and how to join the international/national organization. We could see their potential to be a leader of conservationist and what they want to be. Figure 3 To Our Winged Travellers ©Mijin/EAAFP As a last session of presentation, there were group activities in bingo game which is coordinated by Minshil and Mijin, Programme assistants, under the theme of ecology and participating our project "To Our Winged Travellers". They wrote the message for migratory birds on EAAF with love and beautiful drawings. The bingo game was so special because they should explain their words to their friends and share thoughts. Also, two players who had one bingo line firstly got the gifts. The first winner took a guide book of Waterbirds of ASEAN and second winner got the T-shirt, with handkerchief and Far Eastern Curlew badge. Lew Young, Chief Executive of EAAFP, gave a closing remarks for the students. “How are you going to tell what you’ve learned here to your eight-year-old sister?” he started with this question. He also mentioned the importance of conserving flyway reaching to Alaska as well. With the hope they will push an effort on conservation activities in the near future, we took a photo with Spoon-billed Sandpiper at the office. For more photos, click here.


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  • R.O. Korea to Restore 3㎢ of Tidal Flats from 2019-2023 at an annual cost of KRW 19.5 billion

    Translated by EAAFP Secretariat Original article:  5년간 갯벌 3㎢ 복원, 연간 195억 원 갯벌가치 되살린다   - The Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries established ‘Mid and Long-Term Ocean Restoration Plan (2019-2023)' - On 9th July, the Minister of the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries (Mr. Young-Choon Kim) announced the ‘Mid and Long-Term Ocean Restoration Plan for 2019 - 2023’ that will expand the target area for tidal flat restoration projects, the reinforcement of project management system and enlarge the incentive in restored area to revive the value of tidal flats. The project will focus on the restoration of abandoned tidal flats, such as salt pan or fish farms, and will also recover the old and severed mudflat channels which, for example, have been cut off by bridges. The project will also prepare and distribute technical guidelines for standardized restoration projects to drastically reduce trial and errors that may occur in future projects. In 2010, the restoration project for tidal flat ecosystem was initiated but without a mid or long-term plan. As a result, the project ended with only nine sites being restored over a nine year period, covering 1.08㎢ of tidal flat and 3.4㎞ of tidal flat waterway. As a result, it was hard to feel the effects of the restoration project. Also, the project’s characteristics combined with various elements such as marine ecology, marine resources and civil engineering techniques made it difficult to design projects, execute construction projects, and secure budgets. In addition, some local governments were reluctant to carry out the project due to insufficient incentives for the area concerned. Under the new Plan, the Ministry included the mid-term plan for the new tidal flats restoration project to improve the proposed defects in the previous project and to vitalize the project more. According to the project plan, the Ministry will restore 23 tidal flats from 2019 to 2023 at an annual cost of (19.5 billion Won). Among them, 14 restoration projects will be completed by 2023, covering 3 square kilometers of tidal flats and 3 kilometers of tidal flat waterways. Restoration work on another nine sites will be completed by 2024-2025. The project will also promote sustainable tidal flat fishery and boost local customized ecotourism through branding the restored tidal flats that will benefit the local residents. Mr. Myoung, Ro-hyun (Director, Marine Ecology Division) said that, “By implementing the mid and long-term plan without any disruptions, we will revive the tidal flats by providing an average of 19.5 billion Won per year. It will be of help for the local economy as the enhancement of tidal flats, the fishery and ecotourism are expected by returning restored tidal flats to local people.” Meanwhile, the Ministry is in the process of legislating ‘Act on Sustainable Management and Restoration of Tidal Flats’ to maintain, restore, and use tidal flats with diverse functions and values, including the promotion of public awareness on tidal flats, designation of clean (uncontaminated) tidal flats, pollution purification, and restoration. Target Area List for Restoration Plan [Type of restoration] Mudflat restoration: restoration of mudflats left as abandoned salt pans or aquaculture farms by breaking dykes Seawater circulation (A): restoration of mudflats isolated by roads or bridges Seawater circulation (B): restoration of mudflats which have low rate of seawater circulation by structures such abolished seawall


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  • Special Donation from Chadwick International School

    Since 2014, the EAAFP Secretariat and Chadwick International School (Incheon, Republic of Korea) have built a good relationship through organizing educational lectures on conserving migratory waterbirds and habitats for young students. The school is located in Songdo International City which is home to the EAAFP Secretariat. The former EAAFP communication officer, Ms. Tomoko Ichikawa, delivered several lectures to the Chadwick elementary school students while she was working for the Secretariat. More recently, Ms. Tomoko Ichikawa, gave a lecture to third grade students at Chadwick in March 2018. She introduced migratory waterbirds and tidal flats of the Incheon area to the students, emphasizing the ecological importance of Songdo tidal flat as one of the 2,301 internationally important wetlands (Ramsar Site) in the world, providing a habitat to various waterbird species. The participating students showed a lot of interest in not only migratory waterbirds but also all the different living creatures in the tidal flats. After the lecture, the students were invited to participate in interactive activities about the food chain of the tidal flat. Through the lecture and the interactive activities, students were able to understand why the tidal flats are so important for conservation of both migratory waterbirds and human being as well. After the lecture, more detailed information was transmitted by the Chadwick teachers to the students. After the sessions, the students created collagraph prints of various bird species assisted by their art teacher, Ms. Gigi Maiquez. These hand-made prints were sold at the Chadwick business bazaar organized later and the students were able to raise some money. Gratefully, the students were able to donate the money raised (KRW 277,000) to the EAAFP Secretariat for supporting the EAAFP’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force for their conservation efforts. On Thursday, June 7th 2018, five 3rd grade students and Ms. Gigi Maiquez visited the EAAFP Secretariat office to present the donation. They also brought their collagraph prints as well as a hand-writing message card to the Secretariat. The message read “We, the third graders at Chadwick International hope that our small donation of KRW 277,000 will help you protect the migratory birds. We have learned to take care of our environment in our own small ways”. What lovely words!! The Secretariat staff members were touched by their message. The Secretariat truly appreciates this special donation from the Chadwick students and we hope to continue the cooperation with the Chadwick in the future. The EAAFP Secretariat is highly proud of these young students: Edward Kang, Daniel Lee, Nicholas Taylor, Connor Feitel and William Kim. More pictures of their artwork can be found on our Flickr.


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  • Celebration again of the Black-faced Spoonbill birthday in 2018, Namdong Reservoir, Incheon, Republic of Korea

    The Black-faced Spoonbill (BFS) has an quite incredible story of conservation. The population started to be counted around 1988, and fewer than 300 individuals were recorded in the world. Since then International BFS Census was initiated in 2002, and Incheon also attracted people’s attention as breeding habitats. That severe reduction is now considered that it was because of land reclamation and coastal development. The population has been increasing thanks to the conservation efforts such as Namdong Reservoir’s artificial island. According to the recent survey, the census in January 2017 recorded 3,941 birds containing c. 2,250 mature individuals. It is more than 13 times compared to 30 years ago; however, more concerns are still needed since BFS has been designated as Endangered by IUCN Red List since 2000. With the support of Incheon City Government, the bilateral meeting of Republic of Korea and Japan BFS Network was organized at Incheon City Hall on May 18th to share the experience of conservation activities for BFS. The concerned parties from Incheon BFS Network, Mr. Shigeki Takano and Mr. Satoru Matsumoto from Japan BFS Network, Dr. Kisup Lee from Waterbird Network Korea and Ms. Hyeseon Do from EAAFP Secretariat participated in the meeting. Mr. Takano and Mr. Satoru were invited to introduce their work in Japan; they have raised awareness like BFS observation with students and the public. Dr. Kisup Lee shared recent data of breeding BFS in Korea and emphasized the reproduction failure in Suha-am due to the dredged soil arena and human impact. All together talked freely about the conservation status of BFS in each country and hoped to keep in touch for future collaboration. Bilateral Meeting of ROK and Japan BFS Network On May 19th, the BFS Birthday Party was celebrated at the Namdong Reservoir, Incheon. Namdong Reservoir is one of the major breeding sites for BFS, so it has been held annually to raise awareness of conserving BFS and protecting wetlands. As of May 15th, 48 BFS babies in 27 nests were observed, and more eggs were ready to hatch. Almost one hundred children joined the Painting Contest and Birding Race at the 2nd birding observatory of BFS Park under the perfect weather. Anybody fascinated by BFS could also join birdwatching and various activities such as drawing BFS, singing BFS song and making BFS poles. EAAFP Secretariat set up a booth and distributed educational materials to the participants. Small gifts were awarded by panels in the Painting Contest; Mr. Dong-koo Yun, Deputy Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat, selected one picture for an award because a prize winner well described the characteristics of BFS on her own. Children who participated in the BFS Birthday Party More photos are uploaded on Flickr.


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  • EAAFP at 2018 Secheon Biodiversity Day Event

    To celebrate the twenty-fifth World Biodiversity Day on 2018 May 22nd, Ministry of Environment (MOE) of Republic of Korea (ROK) held an event from 17 – 19 May 2018 at the National Institute of Ecology (NIE) located in Seocheon; (ROK). This year with the slogan ‘Recovering ecology and rich biodiversity’, the event introduced important restoration cases and prepared programs for citizens to participate in various activities to acknowledge the importance and methods of restoring biodiversity. ©Banseok Koo Speech by Ms. Kim Eun Kyung, Minister of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) during the opening ceremony On the 17th   May at the start of the event, there was an opening ceremony where 300 people participated including Ms. Kim Eun Kyung, Minister of the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Mr. Lee Sang Don, member of Environment & Labor Committee, environment groups and citizens. At the request of the government, the EAAFP Secretariat team also participated in the ceremony and operated a booth during the three day event. ©Banseok Koo Kids drawing on bird papers Nine organizations including the National Institute of Ecology (NIE) and the Korean National Park Service (KNPS), operated exhibition and program booths to introduce their activities to restore the biodiversity. The EAAFP Secretariat operated a booth as one of the organizations to introduce about the work of the EAAFP and the importance of the migratory waterbirds and their habitats. Citizens and other visitors were able to learn  about the key species in the Flyway and the Secretariat staff answered questions about waterbirds and their protection. Visitors to the booth was encouraged to participate in decorating and writing messages to contribute to the EAAFP Interactive Art Project called “To Our Winged Travelers.” Photographs from the event can be found in the following link: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmijmtWP


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  • How did the EAAFP Secretariat celebrate WMBD in May 2018?

    The East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) has been celebrating the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) from 2006 to raise awareness of the importance of the conservation of migratory waterbirds and the sustainable management of their habitats. This year, 2018, the EAAFP Secretariat held two major events under the global WMBD theme of “Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation” in the Republic of Korea (ROK) where the Secretariat office is located. The first was a WMBD Student Seminar at the War Memorial of Korea, and the second was a WMBD Reception at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. Additionally, WMBD Small Grants were provided to 5 country Partners of the EAAFP, and posters were distributed to more than 40 national wetland centers in the ROK. WMBD Student Seminar On 11 May 2018, with the sponsorship of National Geographic Society-Asia, a WMBD Student Seminar was organized in very fine weather at the War Memorial, Seoul. The young enthusiastic students and local citizens from 1 middle school, 8 high schools and 6 universities gathered at the seminar to learn about the wonder of waterbirds migration and the importance of the conservation of the birds and their habitats through talks, multimedia, and the group discussion. Four active bird conservationists in East Asia were invited to give inspirational lectures on the occasion of the World Migratory Bird Day and National Geographic’s Year of the Bird Campaign. The event began with the participants taking a tour of the National Geographic Photo Ark Exhibition, before being divided into six groups for group discussions on the EAAFP’s key species and the Year of Knots (2017-2018): Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Baer’s Pochard, Black-faced Spoonbill, Scaly-sided Merganser, Saunders’s Gull and Red Knot and Great Knot. Under the guidance of the invited speakers and facilitators, each bird named groups learnt about the characteristics (appearance, ecology, migration and conservation) of the key species. After a short discussion, the representatives of each group presented their birds and even suggested creative conservation method based on the birds’ ecology and migration. It was a great chance for young future conservationists to realize the importance of people’s interest in conserving the waterbirds with different measures. WMBD seminar group discussion ⓒEAAFP The last part of the Student Seminar was civil science lectures from the four speakers. Before the speech, a new EAAFP Introduction video was shown to convey the importance of flyways and the achievements of the EAAFP. Dr. Lew Young, Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat and Mr. Jay Lee, Executive Director of National Geographic Society – Asia delivered welcome speeches. After that, Dr. Youngmin Moon, a Korea project coordinator of Birdlife International, delivered a talk entitled “Why birds matter” and emphasized on stopping the human-induced rapid decline of avian population. Mr. Terry Townshend, a passionate conservationist based in China, shared his experience in tagging GPS device on swifts and cuckoos in Beijing, and showed the amazing migratory routes of these birds through the tracking results. Ms. Emilia Lai, a young shorebird conservationist, introduced the Great Knot and Red Knot including their migration and talked about the importance of mudflats. Finally, Dr. Changyong Choi, a Senior Researcher in Seoul National University, focused on the threats facing murrelets in the R.O. Korea, such as from exotic predators such as cats, gillnet bycatch and oil contamination. However, more studies are needed to understand murrelets and to implement adequate conservation actions. WMBD seminar group photo ⓒEAAFP More pictures and result papers of the group discussion can be found in the EAAFP Flickr account. WMBD Reception In the evening of the same day, the EAAFP Secretariat organized a reception to celebrate WMBD in Seoul Grand Hyatt Hotel. The objective of the event was to raise awareness on the need for international cooperation to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats in East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). Approximately 70 participants gathered at the reception to celebrate the WMBD, including representatives from the Embassies of the EAAF Country Partner, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, National Institute of Biological Research (NIBR), other governmental organizations, international and multi-lateral organizations, NGOs, universities, research institutes, and private companies. The diplomatic representatives included H.E. Mr. Wei Kiat Yip, the Ambassador of Singapore, H.E. Mr. Andrew Yamanea, the Ambassador of Papua New Guinea, as well as representatives from the Embassies of Australia, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar and the United States of America. The reception began at 17:30 in Namsan III hall with an opening remark by Dr. Lew Young, the Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat. He welcomed the guests and opened the floor by explaining the significance of the EAA Flyway. He said “East Asian-Australian Flyway is used by some 50 million waterbirds from 200 species. These birds are now flying to their breeding grounds as far north as the Russian Far East and Alaska and along the way, many will stop off to rest and refuel at one of many sites, including the critically important tidal-flat sites around the Yellow Sea.” He thanked for the strong cooperation made by EAAF Partners, government of Korea, international organizations, NGOs, research institutes and the private sector while urging continuous support. “More needs to be done to conserve these wonderful migratory waterbirds and their habitats, and one of the important steps is to raise greater awareness, such as through events like the WMBD” he added. Dr. Lew Young, the Chief Executive of the EAAFP Secretariat ⓒEAAFP Following the opening remark, Dr. Minhwan Suh, the Acting President of the National Institute of Biological Resources(NIBR), delivered a congratulatory remark, stating the role of the Korean Peninsula in conserving migratory waterbirds and biodiversity in the region. “The Korean Peninsula, located on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, plays an important role as a stopover of many migratory birds along the flyway,” he said. After the remarks, two videos regarding East Asian and Australasian Flyway by EAAFP and Birdwatchers by Sony Korea were played. Sony Korea provided sponsorship cameras (model: RX10 IV) to EAAFP in celebration of 2018 WMBD. These will be used for bird watching and wildlife photography. Ceremony with Sony ⓒEAAFP Group photographs were taken, firstly with the diplomatic representatives and then secondly with all the participants. Afterwards, a light buffet dinner was served over the scenic view of central Seoul. The participants freely mingled and networked with other participants. WMBD reception group photo ⓒEAAFP More pictures can be found on the EAAFP Flickr account. EAAFP WMBD Small Grants & Social Media Campaign To encourage developing countries in EAAF to celebrate 2018 WMBD, the EAAFP Secretariat supported WMBD events in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia and Vietnam through 2018 EAAFP WMBD Small Grants Programme. Ranging from government body to local citizen of the EAAF sites, each country came up with national and regional plans for WMBD celebrations. The Secretariat is very grateful for the active support by EAAFP Partners for the global WMBD campaign along the EAAF. Click here to see different languages of the 2018 WMBD theme and posters.  Click here for more information on WMBD 2018.  In parallel, the EAAFP Secretariat coordinated a national Instagram campaign which distributed the Korean language version of the WMBD Poster to national wetland/bird/ecology centers, NGOs, etc., and if people take photos with the posters in a creative way, they would win a small gift prepared by the EAAFP Secretariat. As from 2018, the WMBD will be twice a year, on the second Saturday in May and in October. The EAAFP Secretariat will continue supporting 2018 WMBD theme by encouraging Partners to organize events and campaigns to conserve migratory waterbirds and their habitats in our Flyway! 


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  • State of the Worlds’ Birds 2018

    Birdlife International has just released their ‘State of the World’s Birds 2018’ report [link]. This provides statistics showing that at least 40% of bird species worldwide (3,967) have declining populations, compared with 44% that are stable (4,393). The cause of the decline was put on agricultural expansion, logging, overexploitation, urbanisation, pollution, disturbance and the effects of invasive alien species. Longer term, human-induced climate change may prove to be the most serious threat of all. Most species are impacted by multiple threats and many threats are interrelated. In the EAAF region, unsustainable and poorly planned infrastructure development is highlighted as one of the main causes of the decline of bird numbers. The intertidal habitats around the Yellow Sea is one of the most important stopover sites along the EAAF, used by tens of millions of long-distance migratory shorebirds to rest and refuel. Unfortunately, the area’s mudflats have been progressively lost to land reclamation for agriculture, ports, industrial developments and urbanisation. Two-thirds of the Yellow Sea’s intertidal habitat has been reclaimed since the 1950s. In China, nearly 40% has been lost since the 1980s. Shorebird population declines have been estimated at 43-78% over the last 15 years, with Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris populations having declined by over 80%. Ultimately, human overconsumption lies behind the global biodiversity crisis and efforts to identify, conserve and restore critical habitats for birds is already showing that the decline can be slowed. Education and awareness raising is another important tool to convince the wider community of the importance of bird conservation and to take appropriate action.


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  • Farewell Article for Tomoko and Eugene

    I first met Tomoko at the Asian Parks Congress in November 2013, with our then-focal point for Japan, Makiko Yanagiya. Tomoko was organizing the Youth Forum at the Congress and I encouraged her to apply for the vacant Communications Officer position at EAAFP. Makiko was also supportive and Tomoko and I finally agreed terms in the tea room of the Grand Imperial Hotel in Tokyo three months later. Tomoko started work in April 2014 and over the last four years has developed the Communication Program to a level that is widely admired and appreciated. She has achieved this through strong collaboration with staff and interns, as well as the CEPA Working Group. Just negotiating the travails of keeping the website operating through several server crises and upgrades is alone a full-time job (thanks David and Clinton, among many others for support, in this). Tomoko has taken on both a nurturing and mentoring role with interns, leading to some of our most successful campaigns and initiatives, such as World Migratory Bird Day, To Our Winged Travellers and Year of the Knots. These have been a lot of fun to be involved with, as well as being effective campaigns. Special thanks are also due to Tomoko in coordinating the organization of MOP8 in Hokkaido, a memorable event for all who attended, but a somewhat stressful one for Tomoko, whose contribution was greatly appreciated by the Secretariat and hosts. Since then, she has expanded her range of activities to represent EAAFP at important forums such as the recent CMS COP in the Philippines and the Asian Wetland Symposium in Japan. She also initiated the monthly newsletter, now eagerly anticipated by EAAFP supporters and collaborators. Tomoko is much loved in the Secretariat office for her dedication and enthusiasm, and especially her support and encouragement to others, from the Chief Executive to the interns. Two things that, for me, stand out when I think of Tomoko are her passion for conserving migratory waterbirds and her encouragement to young people. She has a strong faith in engaging young people in awareness and conservation activities and worked tirelessly with local schools and youth organizations in Incheon and beyond to inspire new generations about the wonders of birds and their migrations. This was able to find a focus around active groups working with Black-faced Spoonbills in Korea and Japan. Her favourite bird, however, is not the elegant Black-faced Spoonbill, but the more humble Dunlin. Maybe because, like Tomoko, this is a hardy and industrious species 😊 For all that Tomoko brought to EAAFP, there is another thing she brought (quite literally). Eugene has been working with the Secretariat, also supporting activities and encouraging people in the office, since shortly after Tomoko arrived. He is a superb, professional bird photographer and many of his photos adorn the website, newsletter and social media. His is an endlessly cheerful presence around the office and he is great companion on field trips. I will never forget photographing tens of thousands of Baikal Teal “dancing” over the Geum River with Eugene and Tomoko, nor the search for the elusive Long-billed Dowitcher at Namdong Reservoir (which turned into an Asian Dowitcher – another story). Nor, for that matter, the 칼국수 (a Korean noodle dish) afterwards! It is difficult to imagine the Secretariat office without Tomoko and Eugene, but I am sure that, like so many before them, they will continue to support the conservation of migratory birds in the future and inspire people (young and old) to want to protect them. We wish them well in the future and I feel that, somehow, they will always be supporting EAAFP, not just in spirit but also in actions. Spike Millington


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  • Ten Countries Agree The “HENGSHUI DECLARATION” To Save Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri) From Extinction In The Wild

    21 MARCH 2018 ©Luo Jianhong On 19-20 March 2018, delegates from ten countries gathered at Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve, in Hebei Province, China, for the first international workshop on the conservation of the Baer’s Pochard. This crucially important workshop was coordinated by the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP)’s Baer’s Pochard Task Force, which was launched in 2015 in response to the catastrophic (>90%) decline in the population of this migratory east Asian waterbird. Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve provided the perfect setting given its status as the most important known site in the world for this ‘Critically Endangered’ duck, whose population is thought to be under 1,000 individuals, making it rarer than the Giant Panda. During the workshop, delegates from Bangladesh, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, India, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Russia and Thailand heard from senior Chinese local and national government officials, academics and international experts, discussed urgent conservation priorities and agreed the “Hengshui Declaration”. Highlights from the declaration include: “Delegates: • Warmly welcome the State Forestry Administration’s recommendation that Baer’s Pochard be added to the list of species given first class protection in China; • Encourage all range states to strengthen the protection of all sites supporting Baer’s Pochard as a matter of urgency; • Recognise the importance of Hengshui Lake for breeding, migrating and wintering Baer’s Pochard, and suggest that the site is nominated as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, and hereby nominate Hengshui Lake as the “Home of Baer’s Pochard”. Professor Ding Changqing, Chair of the Baer’s Pochard Task Force said: “The Baer’s Pochard is a jewel in the crown of East Asia’s natural heritage. And with a distribution concentrated in China, we have a unique responsibility to ensure its survival in the wild. I am delighted that the State Forestry Administration has recommended that Baer’s Pochard be added to the list of species with Class 1 protection in China. If approved, this will mean severe penalties for anyone killing or endangering this bird and will be a significant step forward towards ensuring the species’ long-term survival.” Mr Yuan Bo, Director of Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve, said: “Hengshui Lake is the most important known site for Baer’s Pochard in the world. With that great honour comes a great responsibility. At Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve, we are doing all we can to ensure the site is managed in a way that allows our Baer’s Pochards to flourish, thereby helping to reverse the decline in the wild population of this beautiful duck” Mr Richard Hearn, Head of Monitoring at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Coordinator of the Baer’s Pochard Task Force, said: “This workshop has been a resounding success and it has been truly heartening to hear from so many people, from so many countries, who care about the future of this special duck. As well as helping hugely to shine a spotlight on its conservation needs, the workshop has also provided a clear understanding of what we need to do next to help ensure its survival.” Ms Hyeseon Do, Programme Officer of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership said: “Effective and continuous international collaboration is required to save this poorly-known species in the Flyway. The Baer’s Pochard Task Force is among the most active in EAAFP and the outcomes of the workshop in Hengshui form an excellent foundation for advancing positive conservation outcomes for this critically endangered species” Background Baer’s Pochard (Aythya baeri, ⻘头潜鸭) is a poorly known migratory diving duck that was formerly widespread in eastern Asia. Since the 1980s it has suffered a precipitous decline throughout its range and fewer than 1,000 birds now survive in the wild. The causes of this are largely unknown. Following uplisting to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2012, an International Single Species Action Plan (ISSAP) was prepared in 2014 and adopted by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) in 2015 and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2017. Based on the knowledge at the time, this emergency plan identified two key threats as having likely had the largest impact on Baer’s Pochard, particularly at breeding sites; (i) habitat loss and degradation; (ii) unsustainable harvesting as a result of poisoning, trapping and egg collection. Other potential threats identified were: (i) inadequate site protection and management; (ii) human disturbance and recreation; (iii) by-catch in fishing nets; (iv) lack of awareness; (v) policy obstacles. Possible threats include: (i) potential for hybridisation now Baer’s Pochard numbers are so low; (ii) excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers. Recent activities focused on Baer’s Pochard conservation have been carried out in six range states. This has included targeted surveys of breeding and wintering habitat in Russia (breeding), Myanmar (wintering) and China (both seasons). Efforts to improve management of key sites have also been conducted in Russia, China and Myanmar. General wetland monitoring and management activities in many other countries have also enhanced knowledge and conservation. Focused awareness raising has also been carried out in a number of countries and as a result the status of Baer’s Pochard and the need for its conservation is now much more widely understood. These efforts have been greatest in China, the most important country for this species, and significant new information is now available on its status, ecology and threats. About The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership is a network of partners within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them. The Flyway is one of 9 major migratory routes recognised globally. Partners include National Governments, Inter-Governmental Organisations, International Non-governmental Organisations, and international Private Enterprise, which agree to endorse the text and support the objectives and actions under this Partnership. There are 7 Working Groups and 8 Task Forces including several single-species Task Forces. (More information: https://eaaflyway.net/) Contact: For English-language enquiries about this press release or interview requests with any of the delegates, please contact Terry Townshend on +8615011289613 or on email at terry.townshend@gmail.com For Chinese-language enquiries, please contact Wu Dayong on  +861340328091 or on email at dayongwu@hotmail.com or Wu Lan on  +8613811194908 or on email at wulan.pku@gmail.com Annex A: Conservation Of Baer’s Pochard: “The Hengshui Declaration” On 19-20 March 2018, an international workshop on the conservation of Baer’s Pochard was held at Hengshui Lake Nature Reserve, hosted by Beijing Forestry University, Hengshui Municipal Government, organized by Hengshui Lake National Nature Reserve, School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University and Hengshui University and supported by State Forestry Administration of China, China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Forestry Department of Hebei Province. Co-organisers included the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Baer’s Pochard Task Force, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the China office of Wetlands International. Delegates included representatives from all key range states within the flyway - Bangladesh, China, DPRK, India, Japan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Russia, Republic of Korea and Thailand. The workshop focused on the EAAFP / CMS Baer’s Pochard International Single Species Action Plan as adopted by EAAFP Partners in 2015 and CMS Parties in 2017. Specifically, delegates discussed: • The status of Baer’s Pochard, its conservation needs and threats, from across the range countries, • The identification of information gaps, research and conservation priorities • The development of national action plans As delegates of the workshop, we: • Warmly welcome the State Forestry Administration’s recommendation that Baer’s Pochard be added to the list of species given first class protection in China; • Encourage all range states to strengthen the protection of all sites supporting Baer’s Pochard as a matter of urgency; • Identified priorities for research and monitoring, including the need for synchronous censuses across the wintering range, efforts to locate further key breeding areas and improved knowledge about the breeding ecology • Encourage the development of stronger collaboration between different stakeholders including national and regional governments, nature reserves, researchers, NGOs and the general public; • Highlight the urgent need to raise awareness of the conservation needs of Baer’s Pochard among key stakeholders, including national and regional decision-makers, nature reserve managers and the general public; and • Recognise the importance of Hengshui Hu for breeding, migrating and wintering Baer’s Pochard, suggest that the site is nominated as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, and hereby nominate Hengshui Hu as the “Home of Baer’s Pochard”. Participants committed to further refining and implementing the International Single Species Action Plan with a view to slowing and reversing the population decline of Baer’s Pochard and urged everyone to support the achievement of this goal. Download Heungshui Declaration


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  • Safe Passage: China Takes Steps to Protect Shorebirds Migrating from Australia to the Arctic

    February 15, 2018. By Terry Townshend Every year, millions of shorebirds migrate to the Arctic to breed—some coming from as far away as Australia and New Zealand—and then head back again. Nearly all of the birds making this journey spend time in the food-rich intertidal mudflats of the Yellow Sea ecoregion, on the east coast of China and the west coasts of the Korean peninsula. But as China’s economy has grown, around 70 percent of the intertidal mudflats in the Yellow Sea area have disappeared—the land drained and “reclaimed” for development. All of the more than 30 species of shorebirds that rely on the mudflats are declining, and those that stop there twice a year are declining at a faster rate than those that stop only once. If the current trajectory continues, the Yellow Sea—once known as the cradle of China—will become the epicenter of extinction. The endurance and resilience required by this epic journey is stunning: A population of bar-tailed godwits that winters in New Zealand, for example, flies 6,800 miles to Alaska and then, after bearing and raising its young, makes a nonstop return trip—equivalent to a human running continuously for seven days at 43 mph. Sadly, the number of bar-tailed godwits successfully returning to New Zealand each autumn has shrunk from around 155,000 in the mid-1990s to just 70,000 today. In January 2018, the Chinese government announced it will halt all “business-related” land reclamation along the country’s coast, which will help the tens of millions of migratory shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, including species on the brink of extinction, such as the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper and the endangered great knot. At a recent press conference, China’s State Oceanic Administration Deputy Director Lin Shanqing said the government plans to: nationalize reclaimed but undeveloped land; end reclamation projects that are not in compliance with national policies; demolish any structures on illegally reclaimed land; stop approving non-critical development on reclaimed land; and, not allow local governments to approve reclamation projects. The head of the National Marine Inspection Office, Gu Wu, said that land reclamation has historically helped boost economic development. “However, illegal and irregular reclamation activities caused a number of problems to marine ecosystems and lawful businesses,” he said, and “those effects have become a major public concern, so the administration decided that reclamation would be closely looked at in its annual inspection last year.” Chinese media has criticized coastal provinces for mismanaging land reclamation projects, as revealed by the oceanic administration’s 2017 inspections.  Hebei province, for example, which is home to well-known birding sites such as Beidaihe, Nanpu, and Happy Island, has allowed tourism, aquaculture, and shipbuilding in one of its national nature reserves. The government of neighboring Liaoning Province failed to collect more than half the fines imposed for violating reclamation regulations; in addition, almost one third of the province’s waste water drain pipes into the sea were illegal and many were not properly monitored. In the south, Jiangsu Province’s mismanagement of reclaimed land, including fish farming in the seas surrounding a national wetland reserve and 184 land reclamation projects that lack government approval, have also drawn negative attention. Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Calidris pygmaea).  The population of this unique shorebird has plummeted to around 200 pairs, as its stopover sites and wintering grounds along the Chinese coast have disappeared. Photo copyright Chen Tengyi of local NGO, “Spoon-billed Sandpiper in China.” While the ban on land reclamation is encouraging, China’s enforcement record is not strong. It remains to be seen whether the government will pursue violators with the rigor necessary to ensure the integrity of the remaining intertidal mudflats.  But I am optimistic; the new policy is consistent with President Xi’s goal of building an “ecological civilization,” as he emphasized at the 19th Communist Party Congress; and it is in line with other recent efforts to strengthen environmental regulations, including the Environmental Protection Law. By halting land reclamation, China’s announcement could be the turning point for the spoon-billed sandpiper and the many other species dependent on the intertidal mudflats of the Yellow Sea coast. But it must be accompanied by other efforts to protect and manage key sites for migratory shorebirds, including policy and advocacy campaigns by organizations such as the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership, BirdLife International and local NGOs. Transforming the fortunes of the world’s most threatened flyway will only be possible if all the countries along the route cooperate, from Russia in the north, to Australia and New Zealand in the south. Together, China and these countries could set an example for governments and their partners working to protect world’s other major flyways facing similar threats, including the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways. Original link: Safe Passage: China Takes Steps to Protect Shorebirds Migrating From Australia to the Arctic


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