Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
GBG Director David Waters and Site-release Manager Al Dawes have been in Beijing, China for the first International Bustard Symposium.
Dave has sent the following quick report:
"On April 10th and 11th the Beijing Forestry University hosted China's first International Bustard Symposium in Beijing. The international delegates included representatives from Russia, Mongolia and Spain as well as the GBG representing the UK and a researcher from the USA.
A primary aim of the symposium was to assist in the creation of a five year Action Plan for the Great Bustard in China. Naturally many of the presentations were on the Chinese bustard populations, but the hosts were keen to hear about conservation and monitoring methods from other countries. Another focus was on the Great Bustard population in the Daurian region which straddles the borders of Russia, China and Mongolia, and whose best interests would be served by a tripartate conservation plan.
There are both races of Great Bustards in China- the nominate race Otis tarda tarda and the eastern sub species Otis tarda dybowski. The status of the two sub species in China is vague and the Chinese recognise the need for accurate census work. In very broad terms the species can do well in the protected areas and reserves, but suffers from illegal hunting, habitat degradation and disturbance from over grazing and miss use of poisons. Several of the reserve areas reported that their birds were secure in the reserves when breeding, but were vulnerable when they left the protected areas during their migration.
After the conference delegates were invited on a field trip to a national nature reserve at Tumuji in Inner Mongolia, about 1000 kms north of Beijing. Here we were shown Dybowskis Bustards, Common, Hooded, and Red-crowned Cranes. Other interesting birds included Pallas Sandgrouse, Grey-headed Plover and Mongolian Lark.
The experience of the GBG in marking birds and monitoring was very relevant to the hosts and further collaboration has been planned."