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Deadly drought endangers wildlife habitats

05-29-2011 13:21 BJT Special Report:Severe Drought Hits South China |

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It's not only people who are suffering The deadly drought is threatening the habitats of large numbers of wild animals. Many nature reserves, and their inhabitants, are facing some tough challenges, as Matt Stuttard explains.

This iconic image of the crying porpoise, was captured by photographers at a reserve along the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

The picture spread rapidly across the net. Many say the animal is shedding tears, because the water world it's grown up in is shrinking.

Some experts refute this, saying the tears are simply mucus secreted under stress.

Tears or no tears if the drought continues, and river levels drop further, the some 30 remaining porpoises that live here may not survive. If that happened, there would undoubtedly be many more tears.

And the porpoise is just one species under threat.

Over eight-thousand hectares of wetland around Central China's Longgan Lake have seen the most dramatic fall in water levels for 80 years.

Shen Xiaoping, Longgan Lake Wet Land Reserve, said, There should be water in this area behind me. The water levels should reach up to my head.

Rainfall has dropped to just one tenth of normal levels.

What used to be a paradise for aquatic species is slowly becoming parched.

Shen Xiaoping, Longgan Lake Wet Land Reserve, said, This kind of water-snail has almost died out. And they're the main food for the crane.

And when the food disappears, so does the next link in the food chain.

The reserve is normally a habitat for more than 60-thousand birds throughout the winter.

But with much of their food gone, the avian population is down by one third.

These days, staff at the reserve say they sometimes feel lucky just to see one bird flying overhead.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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