Survey and Estimation of Wetlands on East Coast of DPRK, Key Sites on East Asian-Australasian Flyway

The Biodiversity Institute of the State Academy of Sciences surveyed and estimated the diversity of waterfowl species in over ten wetlands in the coastal areas of the East Sea of Korea last March in the spring migration period.

The field survey was conducted on the waterfowl species that make stopovers in the spring migration period and their resources in the Rason Migratory Bird (Wetland) Reserve, one of the wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Site), the Kumya Migratory Bird (Wetland) Reserve belonging to the EAAF Network Site, the Orangchon, Kwangpho, Lake Tongjong and other migratory bird (wetland) reserves of national importance, the area around Ryongje Bay in Chongjin of North Hamgyong Province, the area around the estuary of the Pukchong River in Pukchong County of South Hamgyong Province, Lake Sijung in Thongchon County of Kangwon Province and its shore, etc.

During the survey, nearly 100,000 birds of over 100 species were registered. Among them some 95,000 water birds of more than 60 species were estimated to have made stopovers.

Observed in the period were such globally-endangered species as red-crowned crane (EN), far-eastern curlew (EN), lesser white-fronted goose (VU), white-naped crane (VU), Common pochard, old-squaw (VU), horned grebe (VU), saunder’s gull (VU) and Steller’s sea eagle (VU).

Besides, a couple of ferruginous ducks was observed for the first time in the country at the estuary of the Pukchong River, and the recently-observed russet sparrows were registered once again on the shore of Lake Sijung.

Meanwhile, red-crowned crane, mute swan and Eurasian wigeon accounting for more than 1 percent of the population in the East Asian region were registered in the Rason Migratory Bird (Wetland) Reserve, bean goose and greater white-fronted goose in the Orangchon Migratory Bird (Wetland) Reserve and great crested grebe in the Kumya Migratory Bird (Wetland) Reserve.

According to researchers, all the wetlands were rich in species diversity of migratory birds having stopovers during the survey and, especially, the wetlands in the east coastal areas perform important functions in the migration of waterfowl such as wild goose, swan, duck and crane.

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