Photo provided by Forestry Department of Sichuan Province
The first Chinese Monal conservation seminar was held in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday.
Chinese Monal Conservation and Research Center, the country's first, was licensed by the local forestry administration during the seminar. Chinese authorities and experts from top academic institutions were joined by Conservation International (CI), a non-governmental foundation, in seeking approaches to protect the endangered pheasant, which is only native to China.
Chinese Monal, which also goes by its scientific name Lophophorus lhuysii, is China's top class protected species and also a vulnerable (VU) species categorized in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN's) red list. It happened to be discovered by Tan Weidao (Pere Armand David), a French missionary and naturalist who came and explored China's natural resources between 1862 and 1888, during which he first discovered giant panda in Sichuan.
This pheasant is majorly found over 3,000 meters in altitude in western China. The highly iridescent plumage left the species a well-marked prey to its favored enemies: Falcons and foxes.
Published in the 1980s, a scientific study covering over 25 square kilometers' of Chinese Monal habitat suggested that Chinese Monal barely makes a single pair per square kilometers' area – which means the species had less than 2,000 living in wild. According to more recent reports, there are barely 3,000 left nationwide and the number continues to decrease.
The seminar released a declaration on the protection of Chinese Monal, mapping a series of conducts including field survey and artificial breeding in hope that in 10 years, the species' population can rise to 5,000 in wild.