December 22, 2023
KUNMING – Illegal hunting of birds targeted, migratory species protected
In the past four decades, Dazhong Mountain in Yunnan province has stood silent witness to ways in which public awareness on environmental protection has changed significantly, with humans and wildlife benefiting from green efforts.
From September to February each year, the mountain, situated in Nanhua county, Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture, is home to more than 50 million migratory birds from some 430 species.
Local villagers, who have been lifted out of poverty, used to visit the mountain to catch birds to eat or sell. The residents nicknamed the mountain “Da Que Shan”, which translates as “bird-hunting mountain”. But one year, chirping birds were no longer heard on its slopes.
Tao Faqing, 61, who lives in Zhongshan village in Nanhua, said: “When I was young, every year the birds passed through Da Que Shan, and people in the village would hunt them. Gradually, these avian visitors fell silent.”
Environmental damage in the area also posed a threat to other creatures and plants on the mountain, which covers 17,100 hectares, is rich in biodiversity and forms part of the Ailao Mountains National Nature Reserve.
“When the mountain became barren and the birds stopped chirping, people began to worry if migrant species would ever return to the area,” Tao said.
“We used to hunt birds, just as people visiting the coast go digging for clams, and those in the mountains go mushroom-picking. At the time, no one realized that hunting birds was wrong. If we didn’t hunt them, what would we serve our guests during Spring Festival?”