For better protection, Song says, the reserve has strengthened its management on fishing, seafood collection, reed harvesting and cattle herding. "Locals who want to enter the reserve need to apply for special permits," he says. "This helps us keep a close eye on human activities in the reserve."
This year, 35 permits have been issued to local fishermen and shrimp collectors. The quota under each permit is 1,200 kg of fish and shrimp. A special fishing net was banned as it was seen as posing a risk to the shorebirds.
Permits for clam collectors have been decreased from 71 in 2007 to 65 in 2008. Collecting clams by spading the mudflats are banned and the quota is restricted to 800 kg.
Ninety permits were issued to reed collectors, but the harvesting had to end before March 15 - when the arrival of migrating shorebirds peaks - and the transportation of reed had also to be completed before the end of March.
Only 350 heads of cattle were allowed to enter the wetland, down from 400 heads last year and 1,000 heads, several years ago.
"The families in Chenjiazheng township, where the reserve is located, used to allow all of their cattle to graze in the reserve," Song says. "Grazing on the grasslands favored by the hooded cranes, the cattle had become a major threat for the endangered species' wintering at Dongtan."