TOKYO, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) — On the early morning of Oct. 1, three crested ibises, an endangered chook species as soon as on the verge of extinction right here, left their cage and flew into the sky one after one other on Sado island off Japan’s Niigata Prefecture.
This was the final launch of the yr on the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center.
Japan has been making an attempt to reintroduce the internationally protected species to the wild since 2008, following profitable synthetic breeding with a pair of the birds offered by China in 1999. A complete of 492 ibises have to this point been launched on Sado island, bringing again crested ibis from the hazard of extinction.
In January 1999, two crested ibises, Yang Yang and You You, gifted by China as symbols of friendship arrived in Sado to assist rebuild the species in Japan. At that point, Sado heart was dwelling to the one crested ibis left in Japan, a feminine named Kin.
Twenty-three years later, Yang Yang and You You are nonetheless effectively protected there, and it is vitally troublesome for folks to go to them. Yoichi Hokari, head of the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center, allowed Xinhua reporters to have a glimpse of their life by means of the pc monitoring system: within the innermost cages on the heart, carrying foot tags No. 16 and No. 17 respectively, they have been leisurely strolling in entrance of the digital camera.
Hokari stated that the male chook You You and feminine Yang Yang at the moment are 26 years outdated, equal to 80 for human. They have now been separated into two cages, the place You You lives with a 13-year-old feminine chook and Yang Yang with one other 14-year-old feminine.
A crested ibis is an iconic chook deeply rooted in Japanese historical past and tradition. Historically, the birds have been widespread throughout Japan, nonetheless, the variety of crested ibises within the nation plunged within the twentieth century because the birds have been hunted for his or her meat and positive feathers. They additionally misplaced their habitats because of deforestation.
To save the endangered species, the Japanese authorities captured the final 5 wild crested ibises on the Sado Island and relocated them to a conservation heart in 1981.
Meanwhile in China, seven wild crested ibises have been found within the mountains of China’s northwest Shaanxi Province the identical yr.
The crested ibis has lengthy been adored by the Chinese folks as an auspicious chook for its stunning look, thus referred to as the “Auspicious Bird” in China.
Due to the failure of Sado heart’s plan to artificially breed crested ibises, by 1995 there was solely the growing old Kin in Japan. Ikuo Hirayama, the then governor of Niigata Prefecture, recalled, “Seeing Kin, I made up my mind to continue the task of crested ibis breeding in Sado, and see the birds fly in the sky of Sado again.”
In Nov. 1998, on the event of a Chinese chief’s go to to Japan, Hirayama took the chance and informed related Chinese personnel that Japanese folks wished to have a pair of wholesome crested ibises. About two months later, You You and Yang Yang arrived in Japan.
On May 21, 1999, the nice news that You You and Yang Yang had given start to their first chick was instantly heard throughout Japan. In the next yr, the pair gave start to 2 extra chicks. In October 2000, the Chinese authorities gifted one other feminine ibis named Mei Mei.
In 2003, Kin died on the heart on the age of 36, an equivalence of 100 for human. Crested ibises born in Japan grew to become extinct following her dying. Today’s crested ibises on the island are all descendants of these from China’s Shaanxi Province. At this level, the three crested ibises from China produced 37 offspring in Japan. To guarantee genetic variety, China has since despatched crested ibises twice.
The final purpose of defending crested ibis is for them to return to nature. In Sept. 2008, 10 crested ibises have been launched from cages, the primary time in 27 years that crested ibises as soon as once more soared within the sky.
In 2012, the launched birds hatched chicks within the wild.
In Jan. 2019, Japan lowered the standing of the birds from “extinction in the wild” to “critically endangered.”
According to reviews, there are about 650 crested ibises in Japan by the top of 2021.
For a whole lot of years, Sado has been well-known for its gold and silver mines. It was not till the Eighties that the mining trade was deserted because the surroundings was severely broken. It was crested ibises from China that helped Sado obtain concord between human and nature.
The uncommon birds have additionally been offering a lift to the native economic system on the island, as crested ibises have turn into an emblem for native merchandise, particularly agricultural merchandise.
The island, with a inhabitants of 55,000, attracted some 200,000 guests yearly earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, as most of them got here to Sado to see crested ibises.
“We cherish the crested ibises from China very much. You You and Yang Yang are happy here, and I hope they live long like Kin,” Hokari informed Xinhua.