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. Migratory birds disappear in China storms

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 17, 2008
About 100,000 migratory birds disappeared in recent fierce snow storms in eastern China, state media reported Sunday.

About 95 percent of the world's white cranes, half of the white-naped cranes and 60 percent of swan geese are believed to migrate to a nature reserve at Poyang Lake each year in Jiangxi province, Xinhua news agency said.

Poyang Lake is China's biggest fresh water lake and an internationally significant wetland area.

Hundreds of workers at the reserve distributed grain, corn and vegetables but found only 40,000 birds, leaving about 100,000 unaccounted for, said Luo Shengjin, deputy director of the reserve.

Luo said no mass deaths had been uncovered and the birds could have migrated elsewhere. But the reserve was still concerned and was planning to employ helicopters to widen the search for the missing birds.

The worst weather in decades hit large areas of China last month, killing at least 107 people and causing more than 15 billion dollars in economic losses, according to official figures.

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