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This article was commissioned by the Railway Bureau of the Ministry of Communications, and was implemented by a pan-scientific plan.

Under the sun in southern Taiwan, he is black and white, with slender tail feathers, and a dazzling golden feather with black edging on the back of his neck. He is persevering beside his carefully constructed nest, waiting for the favor of the beautiful lady. Just now he glared at a little guy who didn’t know the height of the sky and the earth was thick. He actually wanted to grab the site in a delusion, and he didn’t look at this but the essence of the water chestnut field, far away from the people.

The little guy who just left the nest didn’t let him put him in the slightest, but the beautiful woman in front of him was different. He was full of hers… Seeing Lingbo coming over the water, she who was slightly bigger than himself , And finally showed compassion to allow myself to come close to a solution of desire. He had known for a long time that in order to defend her home, she would not stay in the same place, nor would she have much time to stay tender. After she left, she entrusted the child to him. This is not abandonment. He understands that this is a manifestation of trust. It is precisely because of complete trust that he can take care of his beloved child.

With summer winds, under his long toes, the water chestnut leaves stretched out and straight, full of green, swaying slightly with the water waves.

Photo: Guantian Water Pheasant Ecological Education Park

Not far away, on the elevated railroad, trains with speeds exceeding a hundred miles per hour passed swiftly. He probably never knew that it was these trains going north and south in the distance that guarded this love.

Thanks to the high-speed rail, today’s major cities in western Taiwan can be reached by public transportation in less than half a day. This change has not only changed the pace of life for you and me, but also changed the water pheasant (Hydrophasianus chirurgus) The life of this beautiful bird. The planning of the high-speed rail started in 1990. The planned path needed to traverse the only important habitat where the number of water pheasants were precarious at that time, with less than 50 water pheasants. However, through the active participation of the high-speed rail development unit, local government and relevant conservationists, it was created instead. A beautiful story of the coexistence and prosperity of ecology and development.

“Lingbo Fairy” Water Pheasant Bird

The adult birds of the water pheasant are shaped like water chestnuts, and they also like to be active in water chestnut fields, foraging for food or nesting and raising young. Every summer, they change into a distinctive breeding feather color. They have very long tail feathers and long toes. They walk on floating leaf plants in ponds and swamps, and they are also nicknamed “water chestnut” or “Lingbo fairy”. The young birds are precocious and can follow the male birds who are responsible for brooding for food and walk after a few hours of hatching.

The long toes of the water pheasants allow them to walk on floating leaves.Photo: Guantian Water Pheasant Ecological Education Park

There are eight species of water pheasants in the world, and there is only one species in Taiwan. This species is widely distributed in the Oriental region of biogeography, including South China, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and the Philippines. Although there are seasonal migrations in other regions, water pheasants are resident birds in Taiwan. The earliest documentary record of the distribution of water pheasants in Taiwan is that the famous Robert Swinhoe (Robert Swinhoe) included it in Taiwan’s earliest bird list “The Ornithology of Formosa, or Taiwan” in 1865.

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It was originally widely distributed throughout Taiwan. There are records of water pheasants in Yilan, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, Taitung and other places. With the pace of development, the main habitats are plain wetlands. Lost in the gradual development, the habitat is cut by the traffic network, the use of pesticides, and excessive hunting, the number of water pheasants is gradually in danger. It was declared as a “precious and rare” conservation animal in 1989. By the 1990s, when the number was the smallest, there were no more than 50 in Taiwan. There were only breeding populations in the water chestnut fields in Tainan’s Bashang River to Zeng Wen River.

“We found that water pheasants prefer water pheasants in water chestnut fields, and the biodiversity there is also relatively high.” Li Wenzhen, director of the water pheasant ecological education park in Guantian, said in an interview that compared to other floating leaf plant crops such as perfume lotus , There are many kinds of aquatic insects in the water chestnut fields, which provide a variety of food for water pheasants. The water pheasant, as an indicator species that attracts everyone’s attention, also has the effect of a species umbrella, as an important target for the protection of ponds and marsh habitats.

The elegant, elegant and beautiful water pheasant has always been loved and paid attention to by everyone. In 1997, the water pheasant was selected as the county bird of Tainan County, and later became the city bird of Tainan after the county and city merged in 2014.

Water Pheasant Conservation Area: The Jedi Counterattack of Habitat Action

Back in the 1990s, the high-speed rail was under planning and construction. The piers of routes 281K to 282K passed through Hulupi and Deyuanpi in Guantian, Tainan. They happened to be located in the only important habitat of the water pheasant at the time, causing possible threats to the survival of the water pheasant. Hidden worries. In the end, the environmental impact assessment of the high-speed rail was passed in 1994, but one of the books required the construction of the high-speed rail, and specific protection measures must be provided for the water pheasants.

In addition to funding for habitat restoration, the construction of the high-speed rail must also meet the needs of waterbirds. Therefore, during the main activity period and breeding period of waterbirds, no local construction will be carried out. Although the construction time is extremely limited, the disturbance to waterbirds can be minimized. After repeated environmental reviews and the efforts of everyone, in 2000, the “Water Pheasant Rehabilitation Zone” was officially born. With the assistance of the local government, the high-speed rail development unit leased 15 hectares of land in Guantian by Taiwan Sugar. The management of the rehabilitation area is carried out by the “Water Pheasant Rehabilitation Committee” established by private organizations such as the Taiwan Wetland Conservation Alliance and the Wild Bird Society of the Republic of China.

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Water pheasants are widely distributed, but no country has attempted to rehabilitate water pheasants before. It is impossible to transform the original sugarcane fields of Taiwan Sugar into a wetland environment full of floating leaf plants. The rehabilitation area in Guantian started from the excavation of the pond, and the Jianan Dazhen introduced water sources, trying to overcome the height difference of the original terrain, the collapse of artificial embankments, and the water source scheduling in accordance with the irrigation season and dry seasons, and plant water chestnuts and floating leaf plants. , Fight and go all the way.

Starting from scratch, the management team has encountered new challenges from the outside, such as the invasion of the exotic species of snails and the Thai snakehead, or the high water level and habitat destruction caused by typhoons. With limited funds, the team has worked with many bird-loving groups and research volunteers to explore progress step by step. In addition to the conservation park, the Tainan County Government at the time also proposed incentives for water pheasants. As long as the chicks are hatched in habitats such as water chestnut fields, farmers can get rewards, which will enable local residents to accumulate favorability points for water pheasants.

The arduous challenges eventually yielded fruitful results. According to the park’s historical records, the number of nests that the water pheasants have reproduced in the park was only a few in 2000. After 10 years of operation, the number of nests has been exceeded every year since 2011. 90 nests of water pheasants breed and grow in the park, and the number of water pheasants in Tainan has increased to more than 1,700 as of 2019. Not just water pheasants, there are more than 90 species of birds living in the park. The restoration of the habitat is not a single species, but the coexistence and co-prosperity of the entire ecosystem. The success of Guantian also sparked the sparks of subsequent restoration. For example, the Chau Tsai Wetland in Zuoying, Kaohsiung, launched the “Water Pheasant Returning Home Project,” and there is good news that the number of water pheasants has steadily increased.

Since 2009, the number of Tainan water pheasants has increased year by year, until 2019 it exceeded 1,700.Photo: Guantian Water Pheasant Ecological Education Park

More participation, let conservation and development coexist and prosper

After the operation of the high-speed rail in 2007, considering that the water pheasant population has stabilized, the Guantian “Water Pheasant Rehabilitation Zone” was renamed the “Guantian Water Pheasant Ecological Education Park” and the Tainan City Government commissioned the operation and management of the Tainan Wild Bird Society. The Railway Bureau of the Ministry of Communications, the High-speed Railway Company and the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture continue to serve as members of the park working group to actively assist. In addition to maintaining the habitat, it is also gradually moving towards ecological education and tourism with abundant aquatic plants and water bird ecology.

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The high-speed rail has changed the face of transportation in western Taiwan. In the process, it has also turned the sugarcane fields in Guantian Township into wetlands, creating a new hometown for water pheasants, demonstrating the coexistence of development and conservation. Conservation and development needs are by no means a cruel choice. To maintain a balance between conservation and development, more people will need to actively participate, care and discuss in the future. To this end, the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture has specially launched a green conservation label, which uses organisms as the target species for protection to allow people to coexist in harmony with the ecology. With the assistance of the country’s largest supermarket distributor, the brand “Guantian Water Chestnut” Water Chestnut , Encourage everyone to eat water chestnut together, support the conservation of water pheasants, and enjoy the seasonal flavor of water pheasant.

Have you ever eaten the Guantian water chestnut pheasant planted with care? Have the opportunity to take a walk to the Water Pheasant Ecological Education Park in Guantian and guard the love story of the water pheasant with us!

Reference

This article was commissioned by the Railway Bureau of the Ministry of Communications, and was implemented by a pan-scientific plan.

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