The story appears on

Page B6

December 16, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » District » Chongming

Chongming made safer for winged visitors

CHONGMING has long been a stopping-point for a variety of migrating avian species, and just last month the island district announced plans to strengthen measures against illegal hunting of wild animals, including bird species.

“Preventing illegal hunting, including the use of nets and poisoning, is the duty of Chongming District,” says Ma Lesheng, head of Chongming District. “The area is now catching the world’s attention as it becomes a modern, international ecological island. We are making Chongming an ideal place for humans as well as wild animals.”

Located on the migratory route from Siberia to Australia, Shanghai is a major resting stop for aquatic birds such as waders and egrets. Every winter, more than a million migratory birds are estimated to stop at wetlands in Chongming and Baoshan districts, as well as Pudong New Area.

“With 24 percent forest coverage — 9 percentage points higher than the city average — Chongming is a great environment for migratory birds and wild animals. The Xisha Wetland on the west side of the island, and Dongtan Wetland in the east, are our first priorities when it comes to law enforcement,” says Yuan Gang, director of Chongming Agricultural Commission and Chongming Forestry Bureau.

The bureau has established law enforcement teams at forestry stations and wildlife protection patrol staff in every village.

However, with more than 26,667 hectares of forest and 200,000 hectares of wetland, law enforcement teams have their work cut out for them. The bureau is also seeking help from police to inspect local markets and restaurants to deter illegal transportation and sales of protected species. The government encourages informants to take photos or call the police when they see suspected infractions.

Diversified ecological efforts

Some local farmers view the visiting birds as a nuisance because they eat fruit, grains and crabs. Despite these concerns, Yuan says the birds are an important part of the local ecosystem and they help control insects and vermin.

“We need to find ways to maintain the right balance,” he adds. “We have suggested to farmers to make diversified ecological efforts, taking into account the habitation requirements of the birds.”

Yuan’s bureau also recommends farmers to adopt more scientific measures to reduce lose to their crops.

Bird lovers are encouraged to grab their cameras and a pair of binoculars and visit Dongtan Wetland to appreciate the winged wildlife.

On the eastern edge of Chongming Island, Dongtan Wetland Park is the first place in Shanghai to welcome the sunrise and it is also a paradise for many bird species. The wetland covers an area of 326 square kilometers and features the famous Chongming Dongtan Birds Nature Reserve.

The area is home to an abundance of wildlife and more than 290 species of birds have been spotted in Dongtan, including the hooded crane, mandarin duck, little curlew, Northern Shoveler, Mallard and Gadwall. Recently, 91 endangering Black-faced Spoonbills were found, the highest number recorded since 2003.

Dongtan hosts approximately 1 million migratory birds every year.

“When observing birds from a high-powered telescope, I feel everything is so free and calm,” said Xia Dong, an animal lover at Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve. “The air is so fresh in the Dongtan Wetland, and even a little bit sweet. Leaving behind the burdens of work, I like unwinding here.”

For birdwatchers and photographers, equipment choice depends on the type of bird being observed as well as the area. Most birds can be appreciated with the naked eye. To photograph them though, you’ll need a lens with a focal length between 300 and 800mm. Binoculars between 200 and 500mm, and monoculars between 500 and 900mm are also recommended.

“Bird photographers need great patience to follow a single bird,” a photographer surnamed Zou said. “The camera needs to follow from a certain distance for a long time while waiting for a bird to do something interesting, such as diving into the water, hunting or playing with other birds. Waiting for two hours for a single picture is quite normal.”

Birds, especially wild birds, are easily startled. If you want to “shoot” them, you need to be very quiet and careful while trying to get close to them. Also avoid using artificial lighting and camera flashes — and never use your own food to feed the birds. Camouflage clothing may also help you get closer.

The Dongtan Wetland Bird Festival is currently underway and will last until the end of February. The festival will include a bird photo contest, a bird drawing contest for teens and a bird net removal activity.

Dongtan Wetland Park

Hours: 9am-11:30am, 12:30pm-4:30pm, Tuesday to Sunday

Tel: 5947-1556

Admission: Free, but visitors have to register at the gate and get a visitor pass.

Address: Dongwang Rd, Chongming Island

For more information, check


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend