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Conservation of the Relict Gull in Hongjiannao Wetland, Yunlin, Shaanxi Province

Hongjiannao wetland, Shaanxi Province has long been considered a place of significance for the Relict Gull, now harbouring thousands of breeding pairs annually.  This project aimed to determine the significance of the site for Relict Gulls and what threats the area faces. 

Action Description:

The project, Conservation of the Relict Gull in Hongjiannao wetland, Shaanxi Province, supported by Shell China Exploration and Production Company Limited (SCEPCo) was completed during 2006-2007. The main objectives of the project were to; identify the Hongjiannao Wetland as an important breeding area of the Relict Gull, monitor and survey the number of breeding pairs at the wetland, identify the main threats to breeding pairs at the wetland and suggest effective conservation methods or measures of the breeding Relict Gulls at Hongjiannao Wetland.

The objectives were achieved with the support of the Shaanxi Provincial Forestry Department, Yulin Forestry Department, Shenmu Government Department and Hong Jiannao Wetland Management Team. A team of national experts on Relict Gulls in China were also involved throughout the project.  

The major aims during this project period were to:

  • Organise a project inception meeting and establish a project working group including staff and experts related to local agencies,
  • conduct a survey to assess the significance of the Relict Gull population at Hongjiannao Wetland,
  • conduct a rapid ecological assessment to define the key breeding areas of the Relict Gull, the main threats and root causes of the problems in the area,
  • establish a network of practitioners for the Relict Gull conservation and research as well as information exchange across all breeding areas of the Relict Gull in China; provide assistance to local government for establishing a nature reserve/conservation station for the Relict Gull at Hongjiannao Wetland,
  • conduct a public awareness and education program on the Relict Gull and its breeding area at Hongjiangnao Wetland targeted to local communities and tourists,
  • develop a series of materials for increasing public awareness on wetlands conservation such as leaflets, newsletter and websites,
  • organize a workshop at Hongjiannao, Shanxi Province to share experiences and exchange information on the Relict Gull and development the effective conservation methods to ensure the continued breeding the Relict Gull.


All major aims of the project were successfully completed.  The project was successful in attracting significant attention to the conservation of Relict Gull and Hong Jiannao Wetland in Shaanxi province and Ordos Area.  National authorities have also been supportive.

Conclusions: Hongjiannao Wetland is the most important breeding area of the Relict Gull in mainland China. The population of Relict Gulls has increased rapidly from a population of 174 in 2001 to 10 072 in 2007.

Action Partners:

 Sponsored by Shell China Exploration and Production Company Ltd