On 11th February 2022, colleagues from the EAAFP Secretariat Programme Team (Ms. Hyeseon Do, Ms. Yeonah Ku and Mr. Yong June Kim) visited Yeoncheon County, Republic of Korea, with EAAFP Partner, Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea (Dr. Bernhard Seliger) and Birds Korea (Dr. Nial Moores, Mr. Seung-kwang Baek and Ms. Sy-Young Lee). The team had a meeting with the Mayor of Yeoncheon County and discussed the potential Flyway Network Site (FNS) Designation.
Located in the northern part of Ro Korea, Yeoncheon County is well-known for its Yeoncheon Imjin River Biosphere Reserve; since the Imjin River is close to the border of DPR Korea, it is relatively undisturbed by humans, its pristine wetlands provides healthy habitats for migratory waterbird as well as other precious wildlife. The main purpose of this visit was to promote and discuss Yeoncheon County’s potential Flyway Network Site (FNS) designation for Scaly-sided Mergansers.
Everyone first gathered at Jangnamgyo Intersection to find a proper location near the Imjin River to look for Scaly-sided Mergansers. After setting each telescope to spot the migratory waterbirds, two Red-crowned Cranes slowly walking on ice first caught the colleagues’ eyes. With Dr. Seliger’s careful search through his telescope, the team were able to observe two female Scaly-sided Mergansers peacefully swimming in the middle of Imjin River. Their light brown head with wispy elongated feathers have truly impressed the colleagues.
While everyone was fascinated about the appearance of Scaly-sided Mergansers, Dr. Nial Moores explained the geological features of Imjin River and Yeoncheon County, emphasizing that the location needs to be well managed by reducing ecological disturbances near the biosphere. This would help to protect not only migratory waterbirds such as Scaly-sided Merganser, but also all the other species within the biosphere of the County. Though only two species were observed that day, it was later reported by Birds Korea that around fifty Scaly-sided Mergansers were discovered around the site.
After having a simple lunch together, all the participants visited the county office for a meeting with the current County Mayor, Mr. Kwang-cheol Kim, to discuss the potential FNS designation for Scaly-sided Merganser . Dr. Nial Moores emphasized the ecological importance of Yeoncheon County for migratory waterbirds to the mayor, suggested that the county could designate Flyway Network Site in Imjin River (especially for Scaly-sided Mergansers) and demonstrate the county’s long-term effort in conservation of natural habitats. Furthermore, the Programme Team introduced the role of the EAAFP to the mayor in terms of flyway-wide network and effective site conservation for migratory waterbirds.
Having a thorough conversation together, Mayor Kim positively shared his opinion about the idea of FNS designation possibility and expected further engagement with organizations such as Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea and the EAAFP. All the participants hoped that such cooperative discussion could provide an opportunity for Yeoncheon County and drive for effective management to conserve migratory waterbirds including Scaly-sided Mergansers in the county.
Learn more about EAAFP Scaly-sided Merganser Taskforce.