Last winter, 11 flamingos appeared in the Tiaozini wetland in Dongtai, Yancheng, leisurely flying, strolling and foraging on the vast salt marsh along the Yellow Sea.
Flamingos are mainly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions. The reason why they appeared in the Tiaozini wetland is mainly due to their preference for the suitable habitat.
"In 2015, we observed the first flamingo in Tiaozini, probably a vagrant bird. Last year, there were 11 and maybe more this year," said Wang Weiguo, deputy director of the management committee of Yancheng Dongtai Coastal Wetland Tourism and Holiday Economic Zone.
The total area of the Tiaozini wetland is about 86,000 hectares and its unique geographical location makes it the central node and key area of the East Asia-Australasia migratory flyway.
On July 5, 2019, the Migratory Bird Sanctuarise along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I) was included in the World Natural Heritage List.
It became the 14th World Natural Heritage site in China and the first one in Jiangsu, filling the gap in the coastal wetland world natural heritage in China, of which Tiaozini wetland is an important part.
As Wang said, in recent years, the role of Tiaozini in bird conservation has become increasingly significant.
The spoon-billed sandpiper, one of the rarest birds in the world with a global population of only about 600, is known for its narrow diet and demanding selection criteria for coastal salt marshes.
If the ecological environment of a place is recognized by the spoon-billed sandpiper, it means that it's suitable for over 140 bird species around the world to live there. The highest observed record so far was 224 spoon-billed sandpipers in Tiaozini.
Since listed as a World Natural Heritage site, Yancheng has carried out wetland protection and restoration with even greater efforts, exploring the optimal path for the protection and high-quality development of coastal wetlands.
This fertile land combines three major ecosystems of the ocean, wetlands and forests.
It has a coastline of 582 kilometers and a wetland area of 769,600 hectares, with approximately 521,500 hectares of nearshore and coastal wetlands.
It takes less than 30 minutes by car to reach Dongtai Yellow Sea Forest Park from Tiaozini, heading northeast. Badou village is at the end of a road along the edge of the forest park.
"There are 203 households and 669 people in the whole village, with an average annual income exceeding 50,000 yuan ($6,848) per person," said Ruan Chengwei, head of Jianggang township.
In the past, the villagers mainly relied on fishing at sea and nearshore aquaculture for a living.
In recent years, the local area has made efforts in ecological protection and benefited from the nearby tourist destinations such as the Yellow Sea Forest Park and Tiaozini wetland.
The village has invested more than 40 million yuan to develop Sanshuitan Leisure Resort and built new spots such as a visitor center, fishermen's houses, Chuxin Square and Badou Spring Station as well as restaurants and homestays.
From left: A picturesque view of the Dongtai Yellow Sea Forest Park. Jiulongkou wetland in Yancheng has a picturesque scene. CHINA DAILY