Sunday 27 July 2008

The 2007 International Symposium for the Fairy Pitta

International speakers at the International Symposium for the Fairy Pitta.
Speakers from L-R: Dr. Nick Brickle; Somying Tanhikorn; Eun-Mi Kim; and Petch Manopawitr.

On Friday the 10th August the 2007 International Symposium for the Fairy Pitta was held in Dounan, Yunlin County, Taiwan. The symposium was organised by the Wild Bird Federation Taiwan (WBFT), BirdLife International's Taiwan partner. The program for the day included:

The distribution and habitat of the Fairy Pitta on Jeju Island, South Korea presented by Eun-Mi Kim, President, Jeju Birdwatcher Group.

Conserving Gurney's Pitta in Thailand: experience and lessons presented by Petch Manopawitr, Vice Chairman, Bird Conservation Society Thailand.

Research on Gurney's Pitta Ecology presented by Somying Tanhikorn, Director, Phuluang Wildlife Research Center, Thailand National Park Division.

Pitta Conservation in Indonesia presented by Dr.Nick Brickle, Program Manager-Indonesia Program, Wildlife Conservation Society.

Reobservation of banded breeding Fairy Pitta in Huben Village, Taiwan presented by Rey-Shin Lin, Researcher, Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute (TESRI).

The Impact of nest predators on the nesting success of the vulnerable Fairy Pitta presented by Wan Jyun Chen, National Taiwan University.

The presentations were of great interest and much could be learned from them. The scientific focus of the symposium was clearly successful. An understanding on regional cooperation was also reached. However, disappointingly, the WBFT chose not to address current conservation issues concerning Taiwan's Fairy Pitta in the symposium and issues such as the loss of habitat in and around the Huben Important Bird Area (IBA) and the impact of the Hushan Dam project on the species were not covered at all. BirdLife International expressed concern over the future of Taiwan's Fairy Pitta in a news release in June saying the [Hushan] Dam raises global concerns over future of Fairy Pitta . With such international concern being expressed, the failure of the symposium to cover this issue was surprising. One couldn't help noticing that Taipower and Chinese Petroleum Corporation, two organisations that stand to benefit from the construction of the Hushan Dam, were amongst the sponsors.

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