Market trade is fuelling the killing of migratory birds in Northern China

Wildlife photographers and bird watchers gathered at the Beidagang Wetlands Nature Reserve in Tianjin last month were shocked to find a poisoned flock of Oriental White Storks, a protected species. At least 22 of the birds were dead.

It was later found that 100 other birds, including mallards, Eurasian teals, spot-billed ducks and grey herons had also died. Tianjin police offered a reward of 50,000 yuan for help in their search for the criminals. However, the truth behind the death is, perhaps, far more complex than a hunt for a band of poachers.

A large proportion of the world’s 10,000 bird species are migratory. China lies in the northern hemisphere, so its birds usually fly north in the spring and return to the south in autumn.

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