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Xinjiang launched protection of the "critically endangered" yellow-breasted bunting

yellow-breasted bunting / photo by Qin Yunfeng

Xinjiang Daily news (Reporter Zhao Mei): In order to protect the national rare wild bird yellow-breasted bunting and its breeding grounds, the Xinjiang Bird Watching Society and the Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of Mountains and Rivers in Xinjiang jointly launched an action plan for the protection of the "critically endangered" bird specie with the theme of "Protect Yellow-breasted Bunting and Conserve Fields for Breeding".

Yellow-breasted bunting is a kind of small bird similar in size to a sparrow, but with a bright yellow chest. The breeding places of yellow-breasted bunting range from Siberia to northeast China, and yellow-breasted bunting migrates to south China and Southeast Asia for winter. Yellow-breasted bunting likes to inhabit in large rice fields, reed fields, tall grasses and moist thorn bushes. Yellow-breasted bunting was once widely distributed in most provinces and regions in China and could be spotted everywhere like sparrows during the migration season. However, during the past 20 years, its population has decreased significantly. In 2017, yellow-breasted bunting has been evaluated as a "critically endangered" (CR) specie by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the summer of 2020, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued the "List of Wild Animals under State Key Protection" and listed yellow-breasted bunting as the national first-class protected animal.

According to Ma Ming, a researcher at the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, yellow-breasted buntings are also distributed in Xinjiang, but because of their large numbers, they had not received attention in the past. It was not until they became "critically endangered" that people found that they did not know much about the population and distribution of yellow-breasted buntings.

At the beginning of 2020, the Xinjiang Bird Watching Society and the Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of Mountains and Rivers in Xinjiang jointly launched the "Research and Community Protection Project for Yellow-breasted Bunting at the Southern Foot of the Altay Mountains", and formed an investigation team of more than ten people, which basically figured out the breeding population and breeding rules of yellow-breasted bunting from April to mid-to-late August 2020.