Birds are seen at the Beijing Wild Duck Lake Wetland in Yanqing District of suburban Beijing, capital of China, April 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)
BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) — What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Beijing: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the maze of traditional alleyways?
Few people know that the Chinese capital is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, especially birds.
Home to more than 500 species of wild birds, Beijing ranks second among G20 member capitals, behind only Brasilia, in terms of avian diversity, according to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Forests and Parks.
“Beijing has become one of the metropolises with the richest biodiversity,” Ji Jianwei, an official with the office, said Thursday on World Wildlife Day. “Last year, the number of birds counted in the city exceeded 3.6 million.”
With the improvement of its natural environment, Beijing, located on the bird migration route between East Asia and Australia, is attracting more and more birds.
The red-crowned crane is considered one of the most sensitive indicator species in the wetland ecosystem. Beijing’s Wild Duck Lake Wetland in Yanqing District received two red-crowned cranes for the first time last winter, meaning its ecology is improving.
Local authorities in Beijing’s Fangshan District, home to black storks, have strengthened habitat preservation for waterfowl whose population has exceeded 100. The presence of black storks has also increased in other parts of the city. .
In addition to birds, Beijing has acquired a greater diversity of wild animals, thanks to a series of conservation efforts such as creating urban forests and banning the hunting of wild animals, Ji said.
Since last year, Beijing has established 79 natural protected areas, including nature reserves, scenic spots, forest parks and wetland parks, which cover about 22 percent of the city’s total area and have played a important in protecting biodiversity and improving the environment.
In 2021, the capital’s forest coverage rate and the green coverage rate in urban areas reached 44.6% and 49% respectively.
“Beijing is just one example of Chinese cities that put more emphasis on ecological environment conservation,” said Tian Hengjiu, deputy director of Beijing Songshan National Nature Reserve.
“As a nature reserve, we got a lot of support in terms of talent and funds,” Tian said. “In the future, we hope to deploy many technologies to learn more about the life of animals and plants in the wild, and better serve them.” ■