A Beautiful Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary in Taiwan

The Thousand Islands Lake in the Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
The Thousand Islands Lake in the Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Situated on the south-side of Beigang Estuary (北港溪出海口) in southern Taiwan’s Chiayi County, and covering an area of 1,030 hectares, Aogu Wetland is the land reclaimed from the sea and reverted to a coastal wetland.

Many of the endangered black-faced spoonbills can be sighted in Aogu Wetland in winter, (Image: Cultural and Tourism Bureau of Chiayi County)

The endangered black-faced spoonbill can be seen at the Aogu Wetland during the winter months. (Image: Cultural and Tourism Bureau of Chiayi County)

In 1964, levees were constructed on the site by the state-run Taiwan Sugar Corporation (台灣糖業公司) to reclaim the land and convert it into sugarcane farms, rice fields, and a site for aquaculture.

Please watch the following video of Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park in Taiwan:

However, land subsiding and the cessation of farming in the 1970s caused the area to revert to a natural wetland that has since attracted a large number of migratory birds, waterfowl, resident birds, and other wildlife.

Visitors can spot many Great Cormorants (鸕鶿), Ardea alba (大白鷺) and other migratory birds at the Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Visitors can spot many great cormorants (鸕鶿), Ardea alba (大白鷺), and other migratory birds at the Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Encompassing lagoons, marshes, sandbars, mudflats, beefwood trees, mangrove swamps, and windbreak forests, the Aogu Wetland was designated as the Aogu Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary in 2009 and is overseen by the Chiayi County Government. It was also listed as a Wetland of National Importance (國家級溼地) in 2015 and as one of Taiwan’s Important Birds and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) by BirdLife International.

The Eurasian Wigeon (赤頸鴨) and Common Moorhen (紅冠水雞) in the Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Eurasian wigeon (赤頸鴨) and common moorhen (紅冠水雞) in the Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Birds that can be found in this wetland include Ardeidae (鷺科), Anatidae (鴨科), Scolopacidae (丘鷸科 ), and Charadriidae (鴴科). About 57 families and 262 species of birds have been recorded in the wetland, of which 22 are on the conservation list, including the oriental white stork (東方白鸛), black stork (黑鸛), black-faced spoonbill (黑面琵鷺), Chinese egret (黃嘴白鷺), sparrow hawk (松雀鷹), Chinese sparrow hawk (赤腹鷹), grey-faced buzzard (灰面鵟鷹), osprey (魚鷹), spotted greenshank (小青脚鹬), painted snipe (彩鷸), little tern (小燕鷗), and brown shrike (紅尾伯勞).

Aogu Wetland is designated the location for Aogu Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary. (Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Aogu Wetland was designated as the Aogu Wildlife Conservation Sanctuary. (Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

According to a survey conducted by the Forestry Bureau of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture in 2018, some 2,195 endangered black-faced spoonbills, or 56 percent of its global population (3,941), were sighted in Taiwan last winter. Among them, 559 were spotted in Chiayi County, where the Aogu Wetland is located. This wetland is undoubtedly one of the primary wintering destinations for the endangered species in the world.

Visitors can spot many Sacred Ibis (埃及聖䴉 Threskiomis aethiopicus) in Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Visitors can spy the sacred ibis (埃及聖䴉 Threskiomis aethiopicus) in the Aogu Wetland. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Additionally, the Aogu Wetland also is covered by some 1.85 million trees and 290 species of plants, including beefwood (木麻黃), linden hibiscus (黃槿), black mangrove (海茄苳), and Indian pluchea (鯽魚膽), Millettia pinnata (水黃皮), and cajeuput tree (白千層), just to name a few.

There are so many Great Cormorants in Aogu Wetland that the leaves of many Beef Wood are covered with their droppings. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

There are so many great cormorants in Aogu Wetland that the leaves of many beefwood trees are covered with their droppings. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The wetland, sandbars, fish farms, plantations, and farmland adjacent to the wetland was designated as an ecological park. The Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park (鰲鼓濕地森林園區) was established in 2012 and is open to the public.

The Sigu Community inside Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park is a hot spot for checking in on Facebook. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

The Sigu Community inside the Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park is a hot spot for checking in on Facebook. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

The master plan of the park was designed by National Sun Yat-sen University and won an excellence award from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA,美國景觀建築協會) in 2011. The park is one of the best destinations for bird watching in Taiwan.

Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park is one of the best destinations for birdwatching in Taiwan. (Image: Cultural and Tourism Bureau of Chiayi County)

Aogu Wetlands and Forest Park is one of the best destinations for birdwatching in Taiwan. (Image: Cultural and Tourism Bureau of Chiayi County)

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