BEIJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Beijing has intensified measures to help the black stork live through the cold winter, according to local authorities.
About 500 kilograms of small fish have been provided by the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the government of Beijing's Fangshan District. The birds have learned to eat at the fixed feeding sites.
Due to the cold and a food shortage, black storks (scientific name Ciconia nigra) have had difficulty foraging this winter, and only a small number of nestlings survived.
More than 20 protection boards and five monitoring stations were installed in places where the birds frequently appear.
"Black stork protection is still facing a severe situation," said Ji Jianwei, deputy director of Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
Some of the bird habitats have been occupied due to tourism development and human activity, threatening the stork's reproduction, he added.
The black stork, sometimes called the "panda of the birds," is under first-class state protection in China. Only about 1,000 such birds are known to survive in China and there are about 2,000 living around the world.
The black stork is on the red list of threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Fangshan is an important habitat for the bird to spend the winter, reproduce and migrate every year.