Weekend Long Read: How China Saved the Crested Ibis From Near Extinction
Listen to the full version
In May 1981, a team of researchers led by Liu Yinzeng trekked along a ridge deep in the mountains in Northwest China, on the hunt for a bird that had once been abundant across East Asia.
The crested ibis, typically about 70 centimeters (27.6 inches) long with a prominent black beak and color shifting plumage, had started to disappear from the region in the middle of the 20th century. In 1963, it was declared extinct in Russia. By 1979, it had vanished from the Korean Peninsula. In the first two years of the 1980s, conservationists in Japan had captured the last five wild members of the species in the country for a captive-breeding program.
- MOST POPULAR