Scientists track one of the world’s rarest birds in Inner Mongolia

World Today

Chinese researchers are on an expedition to study an endangered bird. There are only an estimated 16,000 Ordos Relict Gulls left in the world. A majority live on the Ordos Plateau in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

CGTN’s Han Bin reports.

The rare, Relict Gulls used to live at the Taolimio-Alashan Nur lake area, near the city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia. He Fenqi was the first scientist who found them in the 1980s. Fast-forward to today, and dams and irrigation have dried up the water, threatening the birds’ habitat. 

The internationally recognized wetland used to be a haven for the Relict Gulls. But the damage to the ecosystem led to the sharp decrease in nesting. Fortunately, the birds found a new home more than 100 kilometers southeast, at lake Hongjian Nur. 

The birds have been breeding at the lake for years. This year, there are some 3,000 breeding pairs. The birds disperse once this season is over, and go off to small islands where they can lay their eggs. But the birds are sensitive to any disturbance.

He Fenqi hopes the wetland can be preserved, as a last place of refuge for the Relict Gull. But even if that preservation is possibly, the birds face more problems threatening their existence. Population size and habitat quality pose a big problem for the birds’ breeding habits.

The drastic reduction of nature reserves forces the birds to abandon their original homes and with eco-tourism booming almost everywhere in China, they are always in danger.