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Siberian cranes find warm winter welcome in Jiangxi

Updated: 2022-02-28 08:15 ( XINHUA )
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Zhou Haiyan (right), founder of the Five Stars Sanctuary in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, shows pictures of Siberian white cranes to Russian student Trofimova Iuliia. XINHUA

NANCHANG/MOSCOW-Trofimova Iuliia could not help humming the Russian song Cranes Flock when she saw Siberian white cranes dancing less than 20 meters away by Poyang, China's largest freshwater lake.

The Russian student studying in East China Jiaotong University, Jiangxi province, is from Siberia, where about 70 percent of such cranes start their migrating journey from the Kytalyk National Park to China.

"Like Siberian cranes, I flew from Russia to Jiangxi over 5,000 kilometers. They came to survive the winter and I came to study," says Iuliia.

Rated as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, the Siberian white crane, also known as the snow crane, only numbers around 4,000 globally, with just a single migrating route left for them on the planet.

"The Siberian white crane is alert by nature. If it has been disturbed in one place, it will never go there again," says Guo Yumin, an expert on crane protection at Beijing Forestry University.

According to Guo, Chinese researchers first discovered the Siberian white cranes in Poyang Lake in 1980. Now, about 98 percent of such cranes spend their winter in Poyang Lake.

In the Wucheng township of Jiangxi, crane images and other elements can be found everywhere, even on the telegraph poles along the main road.

Min Rui, head of Wucheng township, says the town is a popular bird-watching spot, but for decades, villagers lived on fishing, competing with migratory birds for food.

Min says the town has attracted investment worth some 1.2 billion yuan ($190 million), with birdwatching development.

Gan Huabin, 48, used to live on an islet in Poyang Lake as a fisherman. Now, he runs a restaurant in Wucheng. The local government gave Gan a discount loan of 100,000 yuan to help him find other businesses instead of fishing.

"After paying off the loan, I borrowed more to expand the restaurant. My brother who worked outside the hometown also plans to come back and participate in the tourism industry," says Gan.

More than 1,500 people in the town are now engaged in tourism and catering businesses that are related to bird-watching, striking a balance between economic development and ecological protection.

On the southern shore of Poyang Lake, more than 1,000 Siberian cranes are foraging in the Five Stars Sanctuary, where they can find enough food even in winter.

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The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]

The 2022 China International Travel Mart was launched in Kunming, Yunnan province today. The three-day event opened at the Kunming Dianchi Lake International Convention and Exhibition Centre, with a theme focusing on smart innovation and high-quality tourism industry aspects.

The news conference was held in the city on Thursday. Zhang Xilong, first class inspector of the Bureau of the International Communication and Cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China and Lou Kewei, deputy-director of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Yunnan province presented the meeting along with academy and entrepreneur representatives.

The conference introduced the preparations and relevant activities of the mart, such as a forum on smart tourism and innovation, a symposium on international travel communication and cooperation in the framework of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and a workshop on the China-Laos railway’s contribution to building an Asian community with a shared future.

According to the news meeting, the 2022 travel mart covers about 80,000 square meters, with about 4,200 standard booths. 71 countries and regions attended the event both online and offline, and 31 domestic provinces, cities and autonomous regions and 261 independent exhibition teams.

Online services will be provided to the overseas buyers and sellers in the light of time zones. They could also have a face-to-face negotiation at the mart as well.

The mart also has diverse displays to show culture and tourism, physical education and tourism, as well as overseas tourism and museums.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration, the Palace Museum and museums from other provinces will attend the travel mart.

At the event, Yunnan province will have 2,000 standard booths in four separate sections; each will show culture tourism, healthy lifestyles, physical education tourism and culture tourism consumption.

The travel mart will also stick to the rules of pandemic prevention and control while having the activities go on smoothly.

The news conference of the 2022 China International Travel Mart, Kunming, Yunnan province. [Photo/Chinaculture.org]
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