The area is of international importance for many threatened bird species including Fairy Pitta, but also Swinhoe’s
BirdLife Chief Executive Dr Mike Rands commented: “It is a fact that the forests within the Huban-Hushan IBA, where the dam has been planned, support the largest breeding population of Fairy Pitta anywhere in the world ... this makes the protection of this habitat a global issue, about which we express great concern.”
Threats faced by the region in the past have included gravel extraction, a problem successfully campaigned against in 2000 by Birdlife International and other agencies. Currently, the organisation is calling for more appropriate alternatives to the dam proposal.
Dr Peter Schei, chair of BirdLife’s Council, wrote to Taiwanese authorities asking that they “respond positively to this appeal and consider alternatives to the current project in order to avoid the destruction of an area of habitat so critical to a species with such a threatened and fragile future”.
Fairy Pitta is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by BirdLife International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with regulations applying under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).