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However, experts have warned that too much attention could also be a problem for the birds.
The Wuhan Evening News reported last week that more than 50 migratory birds, including twowhite swans that are under national second-class protection, were found dead. A third swan was found with part of a metal trap on its leg.
Bags containing toxic pesticides have been found scattered around the wetland.
The reports have aroused much public concern, and a growing number of people have gone to thearea to help protect these endangered animals.
A China Daily reporter on Sunday morning saw an animal protection group, with about 30members, post a banner urging the public to “protect wild animals” in the wetland, where the birds’bodies were found.
“We are a civil organization and we volunteered to come here,” said a young member, who onlygave his surname as Liu. “We hope to raise public awareness about protecting these wild animals and alert government departments to take responsibility.”
But the report also drew many cars full of curious spectators to the wetland, which shattered its natural silence.
“The place is popular for many wild animals, especially some migratory birds,” said Huang Lide, a 48-year-old local farmer.
According to Huang, many migratory birds use the wetland as a transit hub and make their nests there year after year.
“Some of the visitors took their children to the wetland as well,” Huang said. “It’s more like a family trip out of curiosity.”
Local farmer Zhang Xiaoluo, 58, told the Wuhan Evening News that he had seen more and more people come to observe the white swans, and some of them even set off firecrackers on the banks of the wetland.
“The birds flew away as they were scared by the noise,” said Zhang.
Yang Guoxiang, a senior engineer from Hubei’s wildlife protection center, suggested citizens paythoughtful visits. “More visits don’t bring more help,” he said.
“Rescue activity with constructive ideas is encouraged, but it should not be for fun,” he told ChinaDaily.
Tang Zhaozi, a professor at the college of life sciences at Wuhan University, agreed.
He confirmed that rising human activity had driven some white swans away.
A netizen nicknamed Dichanlaozhang, who is also an amateur photographer, discovered the swans’ tragedy on Feb 3. He quickly reported the incident to the local forestry department andposted a photo of a trapped swan online.
The local forestry department launched an investigation into the birds’ death on Thursday.
Law enforcement officials penalized seven restaurants nearby, as they were caught selling themeat of hunted wild animals, which is forbidden by law.
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