The last two decades have seen a tremendous increase in the development of scientific studies and conservation of birds in Asia. The pace of this progress is quite immense and it now requires researchers to think about new ways to move forward. It is clear that Asian ornithologists need a structure to facilitate easier communication that would work for countries with diverse economic, ethnic, and political backgrounds. During the International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver that was held in August 2018, about 50 Asian ornithologists gathered at a meeting to discuss the establishment of an Asian Ornithologist’s Working Group. Also the idea of convening an Asian Ornithological Conference (AOC) was initiated from this meeting.
The First AOC was scheduled to be convened in Guangzhou, China in late November 2020. It was rescheduled to 9 to 11 November 2021 in Zhuhai City due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Later, it was decided to be a virtual meeting with local facilitators in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou on the same date. The China Ornithological Society and International Ornithologists’ Union are two of the main organizers to the AOC.
There were 257 registered participants at The First Asian Ornithological Conference, about 100 of them are from China and the rest from other countries (countries other than China with the highest number of participants were Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand). Totally 69 presentations and three round-table discussions were held. With topics covering a wide range of ornithological studies.
- Identification of breeding grounds and annual routines of the newly discovered bohaii subspecies of Black-tailed Godwits by Bing-Run Zhu
Cranes and storks:
- Demographic composition, post-release and natal dispersal, and breeding success of the reintroduced Oriental White Stork, Ciconia boyciana in Japan by Tomohiro Deguchi
- Carrying Capacity Analysis of Wintering Hooded Crane (Grus monacha) at Shengjin Lake, China by Shanshan Xia
- Implementation of the Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) Conservation Strategy in Russia by Yury Darman
- Conservation of the Oriental Stork living close to human habitation – To reduce accidents caused by human activities in Japan by Mina Izaki
- Nest surveys and conservation of the Eastern Sarus Crane Antigone antigone sharpii in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar by Thet Zaw Naing
- Evaluation of management methods for post-release dispersal in reintroduction: which combination of management methods contribute to dispersal after release (Case study of Oriental Storks in Japan) by Rina Kuwabara
- Development and Assessment of Strategies to Protect Cranes and their Habitats in South Korea by Yong Chang Jang
- Genetic studies of cranes in the Asian part of Russia by Elena Mudrik
- Conservation of critically endangered migratory bird using surrogate species model (Crested Terns in Indonesia) by Ferry Hasudungan
- Arriving and breeding status of the Chinese Crested Tern in South Korea by Yunkyoung Lee
- Using Migration Monitoring Data to Assess Christmas Frigatebird’s Population Status for Future Conservation in Jakarta Bay by Fransisca Noni Tirtaningtyas
Waterbirds in general:
- Asian Flyways Collaborative for Waterbirds (AFCoW): An Asian flyways collaborative for waterbirds by John Y. Takekawa
- Water level management plan based on the ecological demands of wintering waterbirds at Shengjin Lake, China by Xianglin Ji
In addition, there were three Round Table Discussions (RTDs): on the research and conservation follow-ups of the Yellow-breasted Buntings since the 2016 International Workshop in Guangzhou, another more general RTD on migratory birds, and an RTD on the formation of the Asian Ornithological Alliance.
During the RTD about Asian Ornithological Alliance, delegates exchanged the idea of created an Asian Ornithological Alliance during the AOC. The Alliance will be an umbrella organization that would create a collaborative environment for all ornithologists in Asia. There will be elected chair, vice-chair, and regional coordinating units that will help facilitate discussions and coordination on special topics and projects, and holding regular meetings and conferences for effective information and experience sharing among members.
Prof. Zheng Guangmei giving opening remarks at PASOC in 1996 ©Simba Chan
Despite the difficulties of international transportation due to Covid-19, the AOC was a success in bringing researchers and conservationists together. In 1996 there was a first attempt to bring Asian ornithologists together (the first Pan-Asian Ornithological Congress) in Coimbatore, India but it did not become a regular event for communication among Asian ornithologists. With more people participating in ornithological research and conservation twenty-five years later, we are optimistic that the new Asian Ornithological Alliance will bring more Asian ornithologists together. The EAAFP is looking forward to this exciting opportunity to expand its network and activities in Asia in collaboration with the new Alliance.
Visit the official website: (http://www.chinabird.org/xxhyjkb/2021-03-04/1103.html)
Official news article (in Chinese), click here.
Prepared by Simba Chan and Nyambayar Batbayar