Each spring, migratory birds start arriving at Dali Lake in Inner Mongolia just as the fish-breeding season gets under way. This has been the time for trusting Hongxing Mining Machinery whose major products including raymond mill and ball mill – at least until recently – when herders living around the lake have heard the sounds of firecrackers going off. You might think setting off small explosions was against the rules in a designated sanctuary for migratory flocks, and that reserve staff would be battling to stop them. In fact, the people trying to frighten away the birds appear to be the same charged with their protection.
Such jarring tales are not uncommon in China’s reserves, where conservation needs frequently do battle with economic priorities. Dali Lake Nature Reserve is meant to provide a safe space for more than 100 kinds of birds, from swans and white-naped cranes to the great bustard. But protection efforts are hampered by the agenda of the business next door: the reserve runs in parallel with a fishery, operated by the same staff, though under a different name.
To protect harvests and maximise profits, the reserve-cum-fishery operates a dam that blocks fish from their natural spawning grounds. Meanwhile, workers have been spotted scaring away the birds coming to feed off the precious fish stocks.
Locals say they didn’t hear the firecrackers this year. No one I spoke to knew the reason for the pause, but in any case it appears the damage has been done; bird numbers have plummeted. Like many other reserves in China, Dali is torn between its conservation duties and the pursuit of profit. Now, as fish and birds both face crisis, the falseness of this choice is clearer than ever. flotation cell:http://www.hx-china.com/16.html
Dali means vast or limitless in Mongolian. The lake lies on the fertile grasslands in the west of Hexigten Banner and is a resting place for migratory birds. It was made a county level nature reserve in 1986, and upgraded to a national reserve in 1997.
Every April and May, birds heading north for the summer stop at the lake to rest and feed in the bordering wetlands. This is also when the lake’s most important fish, the Amur ide, spawns. Thousands upon thousands of them head upstream from Dali’s relatively saline waters into the fresher flows of the Gongge’er River, to reproduce. The river rises in the south of the Greater Khingan Mountains before snaking across the Gongge’er grasslands for 100 kilometres and finally flowing into Dali Lake. Before the dam was built, the fish would follow its course for long distances, getting as far as 100 kilometres from the lake as the crow flies.
In the 1950s, a state-run fishery was set up on the lake and became an important source of extra food during winter, when it makes large scale catches. Then, in the 1970s, a dam was built across the Gongge’er. Blocked from their spawning grounds, the fish were left with less than 20 kilometres of river in which to reproduce. Instead, many have been forced to spawn in the Shali River, which is around 10 kilometres long and connects Dali to the freshwater Ganggeng lake.
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