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Thua Thien-Hue Plans to Build 157-Hectare Bird Sanctuary

The 157-hectare bird sanctuary 15 kilometers outside of Hue aims to attract wild birds back to their natural habitat. 

The Thua Thien-Hue Province sanctuary will be established in the O Lau estuary area, which is part of Southeast Asia's largest lagoon system. Changing land use has reduced the number of native birds sheltering in the region. In 2017, cajuput and coconut trees were planted to begin the process of restoring the ecosystem. The freshwater forest will also protect nearby crops and aquaculture during typhoon season, and boost tourism. 

A survey conducted 20 years ago identified more than 60 different bird species living in the area, including numerous types on the Endangered Species List. But as of 2016, there were only an estimated 31 species left.

“More than a dozen years ago in this area, in the afternoon, thousands of birds flew back, especially in June and July in the lunar calendar [late July to late August in the Gregorian calendar] when migratory birds returned en masse, including rare species such as the yellow-headed duck, sâm cầm (Eurasian coot), choắt chân đỏ (spotted redshank) and geese,” said local resident Nguyen Hieu.

Experts expect significant scientific research will need to be performed to effectively return the region to its natural form. Nguyen Dai Anh Tuan, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: "Because birds are very sensitive species, if the ecosystem is not suitable, they will not return."

Currently, an up-river dam that supplies water to the area has hindered the growth of trees and the health of the waterways. The sanctuary will require people living nearby to change some of their daily habits in regards to how they interact with the lagoon.

The cost for the project is estimated to be VND12 billion, of which 25% comes from provincial resources and the rest is from domestic and foreign sponsor organizations.

[Photo via Flickr user lensnmatter]