Some students of Peking University have called for setting up a natural reserve on campus and authorities said they were collecting data and thinking about it.
The idea of establishing a protection zone for animals on the campus was raised in an article published on Pkuyouth, the WeChat account of the university's committee of the Communist Youth League of China, on Oct 14.
In the article, students said the campus, with some parts designed and built in Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties as traditional Chinese gardens, is home to more than 470 types of plants and hundreds of types of animals, among which some are first or second-class State protected species such as golden eagle.
"Although the university made great efforts to maintain the original vegetation and natural landscape over the past years, the biodiversity on campus still faces some challenges and even threats," students said in the article.
The students said the campus lies along the East China paths of specific birds' migration. However, the reducing number of habitats along the paths over the past decade has resulted in a continuing decrease of birds migrating through these paths.
"Under such circumstances, protecting their habitat on the campus of Peking University is particularly important," the students said.
The significance of setting up a natural reserve on campus is also reinforced by another fact that the drying up of underground water in Beijing has affected the water body in the northern part of the university campus and some birds used to live nearby have disappeared thereafter, the students added.
The protection area, as the students proposed, is expected to cover 425,000 square meters and will become the first natural reserve located on the campus of a university in China, if the idea is approved and becomes reality, according to Beijing Youth Daily.
The students said setting up a protection zone does not necessarily mean cutting down dead trees is forbidden or sacrificing human's interest to protect plants and animals. "Rather, it's about fully considering the impacts on the biodiversity when any decision on campus management is made," the students said.
If the idea of setting up a protection area on campus is turned into reality, much participation will be needed from teachers and students in the management and maintenance of the area.
Authorities of Peking University told China Daily on Wednesday that they have heard the students' suggestion and have collected materials and data to see whether a protection area is suitable to be set up on the campus or not. They have not yet reached any conclusion.