Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The new assault on Huben

Former gravel extraction site just outside Huben Village on the road to Hushan.

Once again, more destruction looms on the horizon for Huben and its Fairy Pitta. It has been learned that government, private, and elected officials are advocating development of riparian engineering projects and gravel extraction and working to lift the restrictions on these within the Huben area. The Chinese Wild Bird Federation, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan Academy of Ecology, & Mercy on the Earth, Taiwan jointly issued a statement yesterday. Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association forwarded the statement to us. We'll be following developments closely and will post updates to keep you up to speed on this very worrying development.

Statement in Support of Government Conservation Policies to Protect Important Habitat for the Fairy Pitta

25 May 2009

In 1999 it was formally verified that the Huben area of Yunlin County is a vitally important breeding area for the Fairy Pitta (Pitta nympha) with the area having the highest nesting density in the world for this rare species. However, the ongoing activities of gravel extraction and the construction of the Hushan Reservoir have resulted in the sharp decline of the Fairy Pitta and many other endangered plant and animal species due to habitat fragmentation and destruction. Another major blow to the wildlife in the area began in 2000 as a result of government policies which resulted in unnecessary engineering projects that included cementing the banks of wild rivers and several other similarly destructive projects. The combination of these factors has pushed this area to the brink of disaster from the perspective of being an important breeding area for the Fairy Pitta.

Responding to these threats, a number of concerned civic groups worked for the drafting of a prohibition on gravel extraction in designated areas that took effect in 2006 to prevent further degradation; in 2007 the sixth session of the Taiwan parliament’s economic and energy affairs committee made a resolution that development projects destroying the environment should be prohibited and in 2008 part of the Huben area (Alishan Forest Region sectors 61-70 totaling 1,737.386 hectares) was formally declared an important wildlife habitat.

However, in May 2009, right at the time when the Fairy Pittas are nesting, it has been learned that government, private, and elected officials are advocating development of riparian engineering projects and gravel extraction and working to lift the restrictions. Environmental groups throughout the country are astounded that there would even be consideration of such a move. Not only has the area come to the attention of the international conservation community, but over 100 domestic conservation groups have strived to obtain formal legal designation of the habitat.

We thus voice our support for and call on the government to firmly abide by its commitments to continue unabated in its efforts to conserve this important habitat of the Fairy Pitta.

Chinese Wild Bird Federation
Charles Cheng, Chairperson
Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association
Robin Winkler, Chairperson
Taiwan Academy of Ecology
Chung Ting-mao, Chairperson
Mercy on the Earth, Taiwan
Lee Keng-cheng, Secretary General

支持政府保育措施 維護八色鳥重要棲息環境 聲明稿




中華民國野鳥學會 理事長 程建中
蠻野心足生態學會 理事長 文魯彬
台灣生態學會 理事長 鐘丁茂
地球公民協會執行長 李根政

The statement was issued in Chinese so in any differences between the English and Chinese versions the Chinese version takes precedence.

No comments: