The Haiger —
According to data from the Stimson Center, a Washington DC-based think tank, levels below the Jinghong have been spiking up and down since December, the result of hydropeaking operations. This is when, because of demand peaking during the day, the turbines are shut off overnight with water release restricted until demand spikes the next day. Brian Eyler of the Stimson Center says the Jinghong hydropower plant is responding to local energy demand in Yunnan’s Xishuangbanna prefecture.
“There are some stretches of the lower and mid-Mekong that are not so well surveyed for birds in Cambodia’s northeast provinces and southern Lao People’s Democratic Republic, but likely of importance based on recent data,” says Dr Ding Li Yong, Flyways Coordinator for Asia at BirdLife International, adding that human encroachment has already endangered many species. “There are now very few stretches of undisturbed parts of the Mekong where these riparian birds occur in any number.”
Thailand and Cambodia are home to the Mekong’s only endemic bird species: the Mekong wagtail, which was not confirmed as a species until 2001. The Oriental Bird Club lists the Mekong wagtail’s chief threat as the construction of dams.
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