Wildlife withered in Yunnan drought

0 CommentsPrint E-mail chinadaily.com.cn, May 6, 2010
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Yunnan, a mountainous area in southwest China known for its wildlife diversity, is in distress as a severe drought since early this year is threatening to endanger many of its precious species.

The population of waterfowl, including black-necked crane and Sheldrake teal, decreased by 70 percent near its Napahai Lake in the north. Skittish Indian elephants refuse to retreat into the dried woods in Yunnan's southwest mountains, causing havoc around villagers' farmland for over a month and imperiling locals' safety, the People's Daily reported Wednesday.

More than 5,000-hektare nature reserve in the region was devastated by the drought, escalating the desertification in its eastern area and causing what preservationists said "irreversible damage." Precious plants in northeast Yunnan, including wild sago cycad, yew and Chinese dove tree, are dying in groups.

While the drought is forcing migratory birds to fly away earlier than usual, their departure has made the drought even more perilous, since reduced rainfall and warm temperature increase the risk of widespread insect outbreak, which is now plaguing nearly 2,300-hektare woods in the area this year, over 70 percent larger than before.

The province is now wielding a protection campaign to alleviate the drought aftermath.

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