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September 23, 2017

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Spoonbills threatened by Kaohsiung road: groups

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Environmental organizations expressed concern over a new road across a black-faced spoonbill wintering area at a panel meeting held by the Kaohsiung City Government yesterday.

Building the road at Kaohsiung's Cheting (茄萣) District as proposed would be like "cutting one's own face," suggested representatives of organizations including the Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society, the Taiwan chapter of Citizens of the World and Cheting Ecological and Cultural Association who attended the third environmental impact assessment meeting of the Cheting 1-4 Road.

The environmental organizations said they recognize the Kaohsiung City Government's efforts to attract tourists, such as its exhibition of the Rubber Duck sculpture by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and expressed the need to remind Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu that black-faced spoonbills can also draw tourists.

The planned 900-meter road would link the two populated areas in the south and the north of the district. It will also cut travel time to Hsingda Harbor, a local tourist hotspot, local media cited the Public Works Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government as suggesting.

The road, however, will cut through the wetland in Cheting, which is a wintering ground for migrating birds such as the endangered black-faced spoonbills, environmental groups pointed out. A census by wildlife groups including The Kaohsiung Wild Bird Society released in January counted 2,725 black-faced spoonbills worldwide, among which 1,659 were spotted in Taiwan. The number of black-faced spoonbills found in Kaohsiung skyrocketed from 15 last year to 157, with 145 of them located in Cheting, the tally shows. That means the Cheting wetland has become a new area for the spoonbills to spend their winter, environmental group representatives at the meeting argued.

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