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Can animals live in harmony with human beings? In some areas of China, the answer is yes.

Thanks to an education campaign, locals in the Great Xing'an Mountains Forest Region in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have a strong sense of wildlife protection, and this has resulted in the appearance of more wild birds and animals such as black bears and roe deer in recent years.

While working in his own fields a few days ago, Wang Daizhu, a worker with the Jiwen Forestry Bureau in the region sensed an animal hovering in the vicinity. When he rose up, Wang found two roe deers nearby.

"They must have wandered into the residential quarter of the Jiwen Forestry Bureau after drinking water at a river nearby. As I was so happy to see the duo I shouted 'roe deer,' and this frightened them away," he said.

At dawn one winter morning early this year, Jiang Jie, an employee with the Great Xing'an Mountains Forest Region, was awakened by the sound of an object hitting his window.

Opening the door, he found a big bird near the window. Seeing him come out of the door, the bird struggled to fly to a tree more than four meters high. The bird, a rare species, must have come to the wrong place in search of food, he said.

Locals told the Xinhua News Agency that more of the courageous wild birds and animals had been coming to the residential quarters in the region in recent years.

In summer and autumn, black storks and pheasants are often spotted drinking water from rivers near residential quarters. They draw crowds of spectators and bring them great joy.

At the turn of spring and summer last year, Xiao Liu, a worker at the construction site of the Keyihe Forestry Bureau, found two nameless birds flitting about. He followed them and found them taking grass to a nest with several eggs, resting on a pile of bricks.

For fear that the pile would fall, he and his colleagues used sticks to support it and found flies and insects as food for the two birds.

Soon the eggs hatched and five small birds flew to the mountains with their parents more than a month later.

One day after supper early this year, Wang Sen, an official with the Chuor Forestry Bureau in the region left his little wood house to take a walk as usual.

What was unusual was that he heard some strange sounds in a little wood cabin near his house. When he came closer to the cabin, he found a black bear looking for food there.

Although it did not find anything to eat, the bear slept in the cabin and did not leave until early next morning.

"Since then, the bear has visited the cabin many times. Sometimes it brings two little bears. Workers often place leftovers near the cabin as a treat for them," Wang said.

(China Daily June 23, 2007)

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