NANJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Fifty agencies, including government offices, nature reserves and research institutions have joined a conservation alliance to better protect the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper.
The alliance was established in the city of Yancheng in east China's Jiangsu Province, according to Jiangsu Yancheng Wetland and Rare Birds National Nature Reserve.
The alliance was launched together by the spoon-billed sandpiper task force of East-Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP), Mangrove Wetlands Fund and other organizations.
The alliance aims to encourage exchanges and international cooperation between wetland management authorities, research institutes and wetland nature reserves in countries along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF).
The EAAF stretches from the Russian Far East and Alaska, southwards through East Asia and South East Asia to Australia and New Zealand, encompassing 22 countries.
"It is essential and urgent to set up such an alliance to promote domestic and international communication and coordinated cooperation in the protection of the rare birds," said Lei Guangchun, chairman of the Mangrove Foundation.
More efforts will be made to raise public awareness of wetlands protection.
At present, the rare species is threatened by habitat loss, global climate change and illegal hunting.
The Yancheng reserve is a vital wintering ground for the world's rare birds, such as the spoon-billed sandpiper and red-crowned crane. Over 3 million migratory birds live and reproduce at the reserve every winter.
The sandpiper, a small size wader with spatulate bill, unusually migrates down the Pacific coast to its main wintering grounds in south and southeast Asia.
As the population is fewer than 200 pairs, the bird species was reclassified to Critically Endangered status from Endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in 2008.