Researchers track rare water bird's movements

By Chen Liang | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-02 09:20
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Jia Yifei, a Beijing Forestry University ornithologist, poses for a photo with a white-naped crane. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Habitat loss has reduced number of white-naped cranes using some Chinese staging sites during annual migration

After a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jia Yifei was finally able to return to the Khurkh and Khuiten reserve in Mongolia last year to continue his research on the white-naped crane.

Together with two of his students, a partner from the International Crane Foundation and Mongolian researchers and rangers, the Beijing Forestry University ornithologist spent two weeks in the reserve from July 20, catching about 30 white-naped cranes and fitting small satellite tracking devices on 15 of them.

"We had to choose healthy individuals that met conditions for installation," the 40-year-old said. "The field work, on the grasslands dotted with patches of wetland, was challenging, including staying in tents for more than 10 days without access to showers, enduring scorching sun and relentless mosquito bites. But we were happy to resume our work, which began in 2013."

Jia said the team had focused its research on the large bird, which has a gray-and-white-striped neck and a red face patch, because of its rapid population decline.

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