Rare crested ibises spotted in NW China
Updated 10:23, 16-Feb-2019

A record flock of 19 crested ibises, a bird under first-class state protection in China, were spotted recently in Hantai District in Hanzhong City of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

A photographer named Lei Yimang was among the first to spot these rarely seen birds.

"Their feathers are red under the sunshine. I recognized that they were crested ibises immediately. When we came down to take pictures, we found that there were a dozen. It was really surprising," said Lei.

A crested ibis. /VCG Photo

A crested ibis. /VCG Photo

Hearing about the news, conservators from the Hanzhong Crested Ibis Protection Station came to the scene and counted at least 19 crested ibises there.

"This is the largest population ever found in Hantai District in Hanzhong City. That is to say, this place is an ideal habitat for crested ibises," said Liu Yi, the head of the Hanzhong Crested Ibis National Nature Reserve Protection Station.

According to the conservators, they do not often find wild crested ibises in such a huge flock. Every March and April when the breeding season of crested ibises begins, conservators will strengthen their patrol and protection to prevent the birds from being disturbed.

A crested ibis. /VCG Photo

A crested ibis. /VCG Photo

"We will mark their nests during the breeding season, and then deploy special staff members to carry out monitoring and protection. We will also reward those who find and report crested ibis' nests," said Liu.

It was once considered extinct in China's wilderness in the 1960s. Many reserve areas have been built in China over the years, and the studies on the artificial reproduction of it have also been carried out to expand its population.

Read more about Releasing the crested ibis.

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