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The Fairy Pitta and the Hushan Dam

…most densely populated Fairy Pitta habitat threatened

The proposed construction of the Hushan Dam in Yunlin County, Taiwan, poses a major threat to the Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha and three other threatened bird species found in the Huben IBA the Taiwan Partridge Arborophila crudigularis, Swinhoe’s Pheasant Lophura swinhoii and the Maroon Oriole Oriolus traillii ardens

The Fairy Pitta, a beautiful, brilliantly coloured, sparkling little migratory songbird called the comes to the Huben area in Yunlin County every year to breed. The main threat to the Fairy Pitta is habitat destruction. Most of the Pitta’s lower-elevation habitat has already been destroyed for human development and some 422 hectares of its remaining lush habitat is under threat of being inundated for the construction of the Hushan Dam, which will supply water primarily to highly polluting existing and planned industrial complexes on the west coast. Known in Mandarin as the ‘Eight-coloured Bird’, it arrives in late spring, and is seen hopping along the ground looking for earthworms, its multi-coloured feathers gleaming brilliantly when the catch the sunlight. Threatened by habitat destruction, only about 3,000-5,000 Fairy Pitta remain worldwide. It is listed as a vulnerable bird by Birdlife International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and is listed as an endangered species in Taiwan, where Hushan provides the world’s most densely populated Fairy Pitta habitat known to date.

On 26 April 2007 the Environmental Planning Agency (EPA) subcommittee ruled that work on the project was illegal and had to stop. This was indeed a victory but the appeal now goes to the EPA plenary committee. At this level governmental interference is feared an so it is certain that the sub-committee's verdict will be upheld. The EPA plenary committee hearing is scheduled for Thursday 24 May 2007.We must therefore act quickly to put pressure on the Taiwan authorities.

A campaign text with Taiwan Government addresses is on the PROACT site at http://www.proact-campaigns.net/localcampaigns/fairy_pitta_0507.html Add your support to this urgent and important campaign.

Story Submitted by: David Conlin - Proact

4th July 2014