The Jane Goodall Institute of Taiwan had launched “The 2008 Roots and Shoots Series Events - Care and Hope” during Dr. Jane Goodall’s visit in Taiwan, Nov. 23rd to 27th, and had also taken the chance of her stay to meet with the members of Roots and Shoots, JGI, in Taitung County, Taipei City, Taipei County and Tainan County respectively. The Series Events included speeches and activities regarding ecological issues, among them Dr. Jane Goodall’s visit to the Pheasant-tailed JacanaEcological Education Center on 3pm Nov. 26th hosted by the Forestry Bureau, was as a witness to the achievement of the Pheasant-tailed jacana conservation.
The Pheasant-tailed jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus), which belongs to the Jacanidae Family, has the nicknames, Bird of Water Chestnut, by their habitation in water chestnut farms, or Fairy of Pond, a description of their light and delicate figure which allows them to walk on the floating leaves of water chestnuts.
There are around 200 Pheasant-tailed jacanas in Taiwan by now; such rare wild birds, which reside on the island all year long, have already been included in the List of Protected Species by the Wildlife Conservation Act, Article 4, said the Forestry Bureau. The birds are living at water chestnut ponds around the Tainan County area, or at the Calabash basin of the Longtian Village, Guantian Township, and of course at the artificial wetlands of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Ecological Education Center with 50 of them. Both the plants and fruit of the water chestnut, gorgon fruit and water lily are used by the birds as breeding grounds, resting areas and food resources. Especially when the water chestnut ponds dry out during winter time, the area becomes a suitable habitat for the birds to go through the winter.
The origin of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Ecological Education Center was a sugarcane farmland of the Taiwan Sugar Corporation, but not a wetland. The natural habitat of the jacana, also where the conservation area used to be, was around the Calabash basin. However, it had to be relocated later due to the route by the railroad of Taiwan High Speed Rail. The Rail Company was obligated to set up a 15-hectare manmade habitat as a substitution as the result of the Environmental Impact Evaluation of the High Speed Rail Construction Plan. Then, since 2001, the funding for managing the Ecological Education Center, also the research and conservation of the jacana, have been supported every year by the Forestry Bureau, Tainan County Government and the Bureau of High Speed Rail of the Ministry of Transportation and Communication.
In 2001, while the Center was at its beginning, Dr. Jane Goodall personally came to the Center to show her concern about the Pheasant-tailed jacana conservation. After seven years, the Forestry Bureau invited Dr. Jane Goodall to visit the Center again, not only for a speech, but as a witness of the achievement of conserving the jacanas, added the Bureau.
At present, the running of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Ecological Education Center is entrusted to the Chinese Wild Bird Federation by the Tainan County Government. The Center provides free entrance and narrations done by well trained volunteers. People are encouraged to visit the center to have a better understanding of the biological surroundings and take pleasure in the beauty of the Pheasant-tailed jacanas.