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GUANGXI, March 16, China Daily -- Some 40 Chinese mergansers were spotted by eagle-eyed bird watchers at Longtan Natural Reserve in Tian'e county, Hechi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 6.

The endangered sea ducks have existed for more than 10 million years, but numbers today are put conservatively at just 6,000.

Chinese mergansers live in temperate East Asia, breeding in areas north such as Siberia, North China's Changbai Mountains and Xing Anling regions, and wintering in the south in places such as Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

According to Wei Shi, manager of Longtan Natural Reserve, the 42,868-hectare area which is 10 percent wetlands is ideal for mergansers, swans, and egrets.

Tian'e county has a subtropical monsoon climate, with an annual average temperature of 20C. A total of 84 percent, or 268,900 hectares, of the county is covered in forest.

In the past three years, the Tian'e government has invested over 30 million yuan ($4.34 million) annually in environmental preservation. Forest police patrol and monitor the forest areas regularly to ensure safety, carrying out fire prevention training on a regular basis. The government has sought to increase the public awareness of forest protection.

thumb Forest Public Security-3.16 Rare birds roost in Hechi1

A gaggle of Chinese mergansers wade at a river's edge in Hechi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Gao Dongfeng/hcwang.cn]

thumb Forest Public Security-3.16 Rare birds roost in Hechi2

Chinese mergansers take to the skies in Hechi, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Gao Dongfeng/hcwang.cn]

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