Date
21 August 2017
Only 50 Chinese crested tern are known to exist. The latest additions are 13 chicks born under a breeding program on an island off the coast of Zhejiang. Photo:Andy Lee/ HKU/OPCFHK
Only 50 Chinese crested tern are known to exist. The latest additions are 13 chicks born under a breeding program on an island off the coast of Zhejiang. Photo:Andy Lee/ HKU/OPCFHK

What a man would do for the bird of mythology

There are all kinds of bird breeders and there is Simba Chan.

While the most high-profile breed and train falcons and fighting cocks, Chan helps save endangered fowl as a researcher for a group of conservationists.

The latest feather in his cap: 13 baby birds born to a family of Chinese crested tern, also called bird of mythology, on a no-man’s island off the coast of China’s Zhejiang province, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.

Chan, Asian chief researcher of Bird Life International, spent three months on the island to propagate a breeding program for the endangered fowl, thought to have been extinct until they were spotted on Taiwan’s Mazu island in 2000.  

Bird Life, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and Ocean Park Conservation Foundation broke the news about the successful breeding program and Chan vowed to continue his work.

In May, Chan and a group of researchers traveled to the island to set up audio equipment that would broadcast mating calls to the birds.

By the time the other scientists left, the breeding program had moved along and the typhoon season had begun, but Chan chose to stay. 

There are less than 50 of the birds known to exist, which make them “critically endangered”.

Which means Chan has his work cut for him if decides to go back to no-man’s island.

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TL/AC/RA

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