Profiles of North East Asian Crane Site Network Sites
Friday, December 01, 2000
Crane Net News, The newsletter of North East Asian Crane Site Network. No. 2.
Lake Khanka Nature Reserve (presented by Yuri Sushicky):
Established in 1990. 334 species of birds have been recorded, including 4 species of cranes. The nature reserve is 111,000 ha in area (38,000 ha core area, 73,000 ha buffer zone.) It is part of the 310,000 ha Ramsar Site at Khanka.
Recent counts revealed about 70 breeding Red-crowned Cranes in the area surveyed (about 75% of the reserve area), and an additional 50 non-breeding summer birds. 4 breeding White-naped Cranes are also present but most of the White-naped Cranes are migratory. Up to 300 White-naped Cranes can be seen in one flock during migration.
President Boris Yeltin has signed an agreement with China on the joint conservation of Xingkai-Khanka during his visit to China in April 1996. There had been several meetings between Chinese and Russian sides of the lake on research and management since then.
Monitoring methods in Khanka: No aerial surveys have been carried since 1993. Ground survey on biology. Has also invited some scientists from Ussurisk to help to carry out some researches. About 40% of the area is covered annually. When the result is compared with those from aerial survey, it is found that the ground survey data are very close to that of aerial survey.
Xingkai Lake National Nature Reserve (presented by Feng Shangzhu)
The Xingkai Lake Nature Reserve was established as a provincial level nature reserve by the Heilongjiang Province in 1986. In 1991 the nature reserve management office was established. In 1994 it is upgraded to the national level, approved by the State Council of China. The nature reserve is for protection of Red-crowned Crane, other rare birds and wetland ecosystem. Total area of core area and buffer zone and lake surface of Xiao Xingkai Lake is 222,488 ha.
The river mouth of Song'acha River is an important feeding site for wintering waterbirds because it is not frozen in winter. During the migration in March, tens of millions of birds stop-over at the Song'acha river mouth. 35 thousand were counted in one day in 1995. The river mouth is also important as feeding stop-overs for cranes. Several hundred can be seen in one day during migration.
There are about 50 breeding Red-crowned Cranes at Xingkai Lake. The main site is also near the Song'acha River Mouth near the Russian border. In recent years the trend of Red-crowned Crane population is decreasing. Only about 30 breeding Red-crowned Cranes were recorded in 1998.