Biodiversity enriched in Yellow River estuary

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan| (| Updated : 2021-10-12

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Where the Yellow River, the second longest river in China, flows into the Bohai Sea at Dongying in East China's Shandong province. [Photo provided to]

Years' efforts to restore the wetland ecosystem have seen species of flora and fauna enriched at the Yellow River's estuary.

The Yellow River Delta National Nature Reserve in Dongying, East China's Shandong province, covers about 153,000 hectares, with the wetland making up over 70 percent of the total area. The wetland is now home to 1,630 species of wild animals and 685 species of plants. Among the animals, the number of bird species has increased to 371 from 187, according to the reserve.

Xu Mingde, director of the reserve, said 306 oriental storks, an endangered species, were born in 2019 alone, an obvious increase from 2005 when only seven oriental storks were born there. The species is under first-class national protection in China and is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Xu said 10 years ago, the oriental storks only stopped over at the reserve before they traveled to China's warm South, but now an increasing number of the birds are choosing to live in the area throughout the year.

"Thanks to the livable wetland ecological environment for wild animals and plants, the wetland has become heaven for birds. It is the largest breeding place of oriental storks and the second-largest breeding place of Saunders's gulls," Xu said.