China is speeding up construction of the country's first wetland museum in east China's Shandong Province in an effort to protect the ecosystem of the Yellow River Delta.
The museum, located in Dongying City near the estuary of the river, is expected to open to visitors in July 2003. Its construction began in July this year. The main hall is already complete, and at a cost of 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million), it will have a total of four halls which combine exhibition with education.
Chen Jijin, an official in charge of the delta's protection, said the Yellow River Delta nature reserve, which covers an area of 153,000 hectares, is one of the 13 key wetlands in the world. It is the home to 1,921 kinds of wildlife, including 641 aquatic animals and 393 plants. Some of its animals and plants are under top government protection.
China possesses the world's fourth-largest area of wetland. Some of the country's natural wetlands are unique, containing a variety of life forms that play important roles in modulating the weather and maintaining underground water.
(People's Daily November 14, 2002)