Two new sites for cranes in Korea
As of 21 September 2004, the North East Asian Crane Site Network jumped to 28 sites with the addition of two sites from the Republic of Korea: Gumi-Haepyung Wetland and Suncheon Bay. This brings the number of crane network sites in the Republic to four.
Gumi-Haepyung Wetland (128°23‘ E, 36°10’ N); the Haepyung area is located in the northern part of Gumi city in the south along the Nakdong River (the longest river in Korea). The area was designated as a wildlife reserve in 1998. Along the river, there are rice paddies and barley fields which are the main feeding grounds of cranes. The area regularly supports more than 3,000 cranes as a stop-over site during their migration to southern Japan. About 200 of them are White-naped Cranes Grus vipio (3-4% of global population) and the rest are Hooded Cranes Grus monacha (25-30% of the global population). The Nakdong River flyway is regarded as a main migration route of those species. In addition, 14 White-naped Cranes spent two months during the non-breeding period (northern winter) in 2002 at the site. Suncheon Bay (127°25′ E, 35°48′ N); the bay of Suncheon City is located deep inside the Yeoja bay, which is situated between the Eocheon peninsula, and Goheung peninsula in southwest Korea. The site is important for Hooded Crane that have been reported here since 1996; the number of birds spending the northern winter (non-breeding period) has been increasing steadily. In 2004, about 200 Hooded Cranes (about 2% of the global population) were recorded. This is the biggest wintering population of Hooded Crane in the Korean Peninsula, and the 4-6 biggest wintering ground for this species in the world (after Izumi in Japan, and Shengjin Hu, Caizi Hu in China; about the same number as Poyang Hu and Chongming East Coast in China).