China: Around The Nation

Endangered bird faints from hunger after failing to catch prey in China’s choking smog

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 12:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 January, 2017, 12:12pm

The choking smog surrounding much of China is affecting not just humans but animals as well, causing an endangered bird to faint from hunger after failing to catch prey due to low visibility.

The hawk-like bird of prey, called a buteo, was found in a wheat field in northern China on Tuesday, lying still and looking weak, Dahe Daily reported.

Farmer Wang Xinchun found the bird in his field outside Qi county in Henan province.

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Wang took the “large, unknown bird” home, handling the creature carefully as it struggled weakly. He tried to feed it with corn and raw meat, but the bird would not take the food.

“I was worried it might starve to death,” the farmer said.

Not knowing what to do with the animal, Wang and his son then drove it to the local vet and sent pictures of it to wildlife scientist Deng Dajun.

Deng identified the bird as a buteo, a class two protected animal in China, which lives mainly on a diet of small rodents that it catches.

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The bird of prey was found to have fainted from hunger, the report said. Deng said it is likely the bird was unable to catch prey on the ground due to difficulty of seeing through the thick choking smog that had been enveloping the region for days.

The buteo had been transferred to the Henan Provincial Wildlife Protection Centre and would be properly fed and treated until it was fit enough to be returned to the wild, the scientist said.