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Construction near peafowl habitat halted in Shuangbai

Updated:2017-08-11 12:02:44   Global Times

The local government of Shuangbai county, Southwest China's Yunnan Province has decided to stop all the construction near the country's last remaining green peafowl habitat after three environmental NGOs lodged a strong protest against the construction of local hydropower stations.

According to a statement published on the government's official website on Tuesday, Shuangbai has invested 300,000 yuan ($45,059) on the protection and improvement of the green peafowl habitat. As of Monday, the construction near the conservation area has been stopped and the exploitation of mineral resources has been shut down. Meanwhile, the ecological restoration work is continuing.

Zhang Boju, secretary-general of Friends of Nature, told the Global Times that the organization is very glad to see the government's positive response but work on "the key hydropower station that will affect the green peafowl's habitat is going on. It is very difficult to solve the problem by only relying on the Shuangbai government and further talks will be held next."

In April, three environmental NGOs submitted a joint application to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Chuxiong government and the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute, after they found that a small hydropower station, the Jiasajiang Level 1 Power Station, was being built in the area.

They asked for all the information related to the environmental impact of the station as they believe once the station enters into operation, the habitat for green peafowl will be totally destroyed, and the species will likely go extinct [in China] in a short period.

The green peafowl (Pavo muticus), a peafowl species now mainly found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, was once widespread in China. It has appeared in artworks and literature for centuries, as the bird is regarded as the embodiment of the mythical phoenix and highly auspicious.

China's green peafowl are mainly found between Shuangbai county, Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, and Xinping Yi and Dai Autonomous County, Yuxi, in the upper reaches of the Red River in Yunnan.

The Switzerland-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) changed the green peafowl's status from "Vulnerable" to "Endangered" in 2009. Dam-building and deforestation have been mainly blamed for the bird's near-disappearance in China.

In the 1990s, there were an estimated 1,000 green peafowl in China. But according to a survey conducted by the Kunming Institute of Zoology, the bird's total population is likely no more than 500.

Editor: Eric Wang

Keywords:   peafowl habitat halt