扬子鳄的拯救
Healing Yangtze Alligator, China
2015-01-26 11:13:37    | keywords: 扬子鳄  自然保护区  汪仁平 
扬子鳄的拯救
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撰文  汪仁平(安徽扬子鳄国家级自然保护区管理局)
Text  Wang Renping (Anhui Yangtze Alligator  National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau)
 
 
一、概况
 
扬子鳄是中国特有的珍稀动物,属于爬行纲鳄目鼍科鼍属的一种鳄。扬子鳄已在地球上生活两亿三千万年的历史,与早已灭绝的恐龙具有近亲关系,因此,具有“活化石”之称。历史上扬子鳄的分布范围非常广泛,几乎遍及中国整个大陆版图。大约六千年前,扬子鳄仍分布于黄河流域和长江流域的广大地区。后来由于环境的变迁和人类的捕杀,扬子鳄的分布范围逐渐缩小,直至现今的长江中下游地区。二十世纪70年代末,据中美联合调查组调查结果,认为扬子鳄的数量只有300—500条,如不加强保护,它将在10年内从中国大地上灭绝。
 
鉴于濒危状况,中国政府十分重视扬子鳄的保护,1972年将其列为国家一级重点保护野生动物,从1979年开始先后在安徽宣城建立了安徽扬子鳄养殖场、安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心、安徽扬子鳄自然保护区,实行对扬子鳄的人工繁育和野生扬子鳄保护的措施。1973年联合国将扬子鳄列为临危种和禁运种,此后世界自然保护联盟将其确认为极危种,濒危野生动植物种国际公约将其列入附录I,现今它成为世界上23种鳄类中最濒危的鳄种之一。
 
安徽扬子鳄自然保护区始建于1982年,1986年经国务院批准升格为国家级自然保护区, 名为“安徽扬子鳄国家级自然保护区”,2006年被确认为全国示范保护区。其位于安徽省南部丘陵地带,面积有18 565公顷,范围包括宣城市的宣州区、郎溪县、广德县、泾县和芜湖市的南陵县四县一区。其主要职能是保护和恢复野生扬子鳄种群及其栖息地。为了拯救这一濒危物种,中国国家林业局将其列为15大野生动植物重点保护物种之一,1979年建立安徽扬子鳄养殖场,1983年将此改建为安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心,开展扬子鳄人工繁育研究,以防止这一物种在自然环境下灭绝。安徽扬子鳄国家级自然保护区与安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心两个机构现今合署办公,统称“安徽扬子鳄国家级自然保护区管理局”,其性质为全额拨款事业单位。
 
二、野生扬子鳄的保护
 
据史料记载,扬子鳄过去广泛分布于长江中下游六省一市沿岸。从上世纪50年代以来,随着人口的日益膨胀,大片湿地被开垦成农田,许多湖泊溪流被改造成水利灌溉系统或填土建房造田,农药、化肥的大量使用,使得扬子鳄生活的自然环境不断恶化,扬子鳄的分布区域逐渐缩小,加上人们的滥捕乱杀,使得扬子鳄数量大幅减少。面对自然界野生鳄总数不足500条的严峻形势,中国成立了安徽扬子鳄自然保护区,以加强对野生扬子鳄及其栖息地的保护,并在自然保护区内野生扬子鳄相对集中的地块,设立核心保护点,立碑警示,聘请护鳄员给予管护,实行“重点保护、全面管理”的保护策略。
 
近年在自然保护区主要开展了以下工作:
1.加强扬子鳄保护宣传教育工作,采用召开社区会议、举办科普宣讲会、发放科普宣传材料等,面向当地社区以及社会开展爱鳄护鳄宣教活动,全面提高群众保护意识。
2.开展日常巡护工作,定点定线路巡查走访,及时发现和制止危害鳄栖息地、伤害扬子鳄的事件。
3.开展保护联防和社区共管工作。保护区深入扬子鳄生活所在村镇,与当地部分社区签订共管协议,采取帮助当地村修建道路、维修塘坝埂、进行养鱼技术指导并提供鱼苗补助等方式和措施,让社区农民得到实惠,使保护区与当地农民形成一种互惠互利的关系,以提高社区群众保护扬子鳄的积极性和主动性。
4.实施人工辅助救护措施,保护野生鳄卵和幼鳄,即对野生鳄蛋巢围网保护、孵出的幼鳄被放在圈养池中人工抚育并在其长大后返回栖息地。
5.实施野外放归工程,让扬子鳄重返大自然。将人工扬子鳄放生野外,以补充和恢复野生种群。目前已向野外投放人工繁育扬子鳄10次,累计放归鳄66条。从无线电追踪和定期监测结果看,所有放归鳄均长势良好,完全融入了当地环境,部分母鳄已繁育了后代。这标志着我国扬子鳄野外放归行动取得了成功。
 
经过一系列的保护措施后,保护区内野生扬子鳄种群数量已渐趋稳定,数量下降趋势得到遏制,部分地区出现了小幅增加的喜人势头。目前野生鳄数量共有约150条,相当于野生大熊猫总数的十分之一,仍处于极度濒危状态,扬子鳄保护任务还相当艰巨。
 
三、扬子鳄的人工繁育
 
安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心主要承担扬子鳄人工繁育研究。此中心位于宣城市南郊,占地100公顷,1979年利用212条野生扬子鳄作为种源,开始扬子鳄的人工繁育探索,1982年人工驯养的扬子鳄繁殖成功,1986年完成当时中国林业部下达的繁殖保种1 000条鳄的任务。1988年人工繁育的子代鳄开始产卵,并孵出子二代鳄,这标志着扬子鳄的拯救工程获得成功,为我国对扬子鳄资源从保种到开发利用的过渡奠定了基础。1992年人工圈养的子二代扬子鳄进行商业贸易的提案在第八届CITES成员国大会上获得通过,从此,人工扬子鳄被允许进行开发利用和贸易。目前,扬子鳄人工种群已达15 000多条,并且具备年产幼鳄1 500余条的繁育能力,子二代、子三代鳄的数量迅猛增加。安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心已成为世界上最好的鳄类养殖基地之一。
 
现在,安徽扬子鳄繁殖研究中心既是扬子鳄人工繁育基地,又是旅游风景区,作为中国鳄鱼湖景区对外开放,每年前来参观游客达100万人次,面向公众的动物保护宣传教育发挥了良好作用。
 
四、扬子鳄保护的展望
 
虽然扬子鳄的保护工作取得了巨大的成绩,但是野生扬子鳄的保护任重道远。当前野生扬子鳄仍面临很多问题,需要加以解决。
 
1.面临的问题
1.1 随着人口的增多、城乡建设的发展以及产业结构升级,围垦、水利建设、修建公路等经济活动时有发生,威胁着扬子鳄的栖息环境。
1.2农业灌溉用水与扬子鳄生存用水间存在矛盾,由于保护区没有土地使用权和水资源管理权,因此很难协调好二者间的冲突,特别是在遇到干旱少雨时,扬子鳄生活塘库的水常被用于农田灌溉而排干。
1.3 过度的捕鱼捞虾造成扬子鳄鱼类食物匮乏。由于当地少数农民为了增加经济收入,采取电捕鱼等非法手段,过度地捕捞河道、水塘中的鱼类,使得扬子鳄缺乏食物。另外,农业生产中农药、化肥、除草剂等有毒化学物的大量使用,使得扬子鳄赖以食用的螺蛳、河蚌、鱼虾等水生生物大量减少,从而加重扬子鳄的食物缺乏。
1.4 由于栖息地内野生扬子鳄种群数量较少,且分布在相互隔离的生境中,彼此间难以进行交配繁殖,存在自然繁殖增长力过小的问题;同时,由于鳄体间基因交流缺乏,使得许多优良基因因此丢失,存在着小种群遗传多样性保护问题。
 
2.今后对策
2.1 加强日常巡护和保护宣传。保护区执法人员要加强在保护区的巡护工作,及时发现和制止对栖息地及其鱼类资源的违法破坏活动,同时加强社区的保护法律法规宣传工作,散发宣传资料,竖立宣传牌和警示碑。
2.2 将扬子鳄栖息地的保护与社区的发展结合起来,在改善扬子鳄栖息地的同时,兼顾社区农业生产的需要。根据当地的实际情况,保护区应对扬子鳄栖息地进行库塘加固、库塘中栖息小岛的兴建、植被绿化、河网改造、河堤硬化等建设。
2.3恢复扬子鳄栖息地。加大退耕还林工作的力度,改善现存扬子鳄栖息地,开辟扬子鳄丘陵地区人工湿地栖息地的建设,不断对安徽省皖南地区以及长江中下游的湿地进行系统调查,以寻找适宜扬子鳄生存的大面积漫滩类型栖息地,以进行扬子鳄的再引入,实施人工扬子鳄放归大自然工程。
2.4 实施社区共管。完善保护区与社区包括宣传教育、社区共管等发展的机制,采取有偿或无偿投资相结合的办法,通过农村实用技术培训、基础设施建设与项目扶持、发展高效生态农业等方式,增加社区居民的经济收入,让当地农民从保护扬子鳄中得到实惠,进而更多地关心和支持扬子鳄的保护。
 
我们坚信,在社会各界广泛关注与积极参与的利好局面下,加以扬子鳄保护区的艰苦工作,扬子鳄保护事业一定会迎来辉煌的明天!
 
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保护区管理局大门
Main entrance of Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau
 
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巢中扬子鳄卵
Spawns of Yangtze alligators in the nest

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动物保护教育
Education activity of Yangtze alligator protection

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吼叫
Yangtze alligators bellowing

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晒太阳的扬子鳄
Yangtze alligators enjoying sunshine

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小学生作文竞赛
Yangtze alligator protection themed composition contest by primary school students

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扬子鳄保护区位置图
Locations of Yangtze alligator protecting areas in the Nature Reserve

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扬子鳄头部
The head of a Yangtze alligator

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一对雌雄扬子鳄
A couple of female and male Yangtze alligators

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优美鳄生活环境
Cozy living environment for Yangtze alligators

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幼鳄
Baby alligators

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专题展览
Yangtze alligator themed exhibition
 
Ⅰ. Overview
 
Yangtze alligator, a rare and specific animal in China, is a reptile of crocodylia alligatoridae, which has been living on the Earth for 230 million years. It is known as a “living fossil” for its close relation to the extinct dinosaurs. In the ancient time, Yangtze alligators were widely distributed in China, and they were still widespread in the Yellow River and Yangtze River basins about six thousand years ago. Later, the distribution range of them was gradually reduced with environmental changes and human hunting activities, as a result, Yangtze alligators are only living along the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River today. In the late 1970s, a related Sino-US joint investigation found that there were only 300 to 500 Yangtze alligators left, and they might be extinct if the protection of them were not effectively strengthened.
 
Given such endangered status, the Chinese government attached great importance to the protection of Yangtze alligators: in 1972, they were listed as a kind of first-grade national protected animals, and specific measures have been put forward to achieve artificial breeding and wild species protecting since 1979 by the successive establishments of Anhui Yangtze Alligator Farm, Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center and Anhui Yangtze Alligator Nature Reserve in Xuancheng, Anhui Province. In 1973, Yangtze alligators were classified as threatened and embargoed species by United Nations; thereafter, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) identified them as critically endangered species, and they were also included in CITESⅠ, to become one of 23 kinds most endangered alligator species in the world.
 
Established in 1982, Anhui Yangtze Alligator Nature Reserve is located at the foothills in the south Anhui Province, occupying an area of 18,565 ha across four counties and one district which are Xuanzhou District, Langxi County, Guangde County and Jing County in Xuancheng City, also Nanling County in Wuhu City. The main functions of this nature reserve are to protect and heal wild species of Yangtze alligators and their habitats. In order to well heal such endangered species, China's State Forestry Administration also included them as one of 15 key species of wildlife protection, and established Anhui Yangtze Alligator Farm in 1979, which was rebuilt in 1983 as Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center to conduct breeding research for Yangtze alligators, so as to prevent the extinction of this species in the natural environment. In 1986, Anhui Yangtze Alligator Nature Reserve was approved by the State Council to be upgraded as a national-level nature reserve, named “Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve”, which is now co-working with Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center, collectively known as “Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau”, a full allocation public institution. In the year 2006, Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve was entitled as a national model nature reserve.
 
Ⅱ. Wildlife Protection
 
According to historical records, Yangtze alligators were widely distributed in six provinces and one city along the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River, of which the distribution range has gradually reduced since 1950s within the worsening natural environment caused by expanding human population, large reclamation of wetland to be farmland, excessive transformation of many lakes and streams into irrigation systems or filling areas to build houses and farmlands, abuse of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and indiscriminate human hunting activities. Faced with the severe situation of only less than 500 wild Yangtze alligators left, Anhui Yangtze Alligator Nature Reserve was established by Chinese government to enhance the protection of them and their habitats, and to set up central protection stations in the areas of that nature reserve where wild Yangtze alligators are relatively concentrated living, so that the protection strategy of “comprehensive management for key protection” would be efficiently put into practice by setting warning signs and employing alligator keepers.
 
Detailed protection strategies in the nature reserve are listed as follow:
A. Enhance the publicity and education of Yangtze alligator protection: to generally raise public awareness on taking care of the alligators by holding relative community meetings and science popularization activities, also giving out popular science propaganda materials.
B. Implement orientated daily patrols to find out and prevent habitat and alligator vandalism in time.
C. Achieve community co-protection and co-management: to collaborate with related local communities, villages and towns where the alligators live in and the nature reserve areas are located, constructing roads, maintaining embankments, and providing local farmers with technical guidance of pisciculture and fry subsidies, to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between nature reserve areas and local farmers, so as to raise their enthusiasm and initiatives of protecting the alligators.
D. Put measures of artificial aid into effect to well protect the spawns of wild Yangtze alligators and baby alligators: to create purse-seine protecting areas for the spawns; to keep the hatched baby alligators in the captive ponds for artificial breeding and take them into the natural habitat when they are grown up.
E. Free the artificial breeding Yangtze alligators back into the wild to refresh and well supplement the right wild population. Until now, totally there have been 66 artificial breeding alligators successfully freed back into the wild, while they are all growing well and perfectly adapted to the local environment, which represents the practice success of artificial breeding Yangtze alligators returning back into the wild in China.
 
With a series of protective measures, the population of wild Yangtze alligators tends to be gradually steady in the nature reserve, in some parts of which the population is even slightly increasing, and the downward trend has been kept within limits. However, the number of wild Yangtze alligators is only about 150, just equaling to 10% of the total number of wild pandas, which is still in the critically endangered status, and the protection task of Yangtze alligators is still quite arduous.
 
Ⅲ. Artificial Breeding
 
Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center is mainly responsible for the artificial breeding of Yangtze alligators. The research center is located of in the southern suburbs of Xuancheng City, occupying an area of 100 ha. It started the artificial breeding research in 1979 with 212 wild Yangtze alligators as the origin of species, which achieved the final success in 1982, and the research center successfully fulfilled the task of breeding 1,000 alligators issued by Chinese Ministry of Forestry in 1986. In 1988, the first generation of artificial breeding Yangtze alligators began their spawning, and then the second generation smoothly came out, which shows the success of Yangtze Alligator Healing Project in China, laying a foundation for the transition from artificial breeding to exploiting and trading of the alligators. In the year 1992, the commercial trade proposal of artificial breeding Yangtze alligators was approved by the 8th Conference of CITES Member Countries, since then, it is legally to exploit and trade the artificial breeding Yangtze alligators. At present, the population of artificial breeding Yangtze alligators has been more than 15,000 with an annual output of more than 1,500 baby alligators, and the number of their second and third generation is rapidly increasing. Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center has become one of the best artificial breeding bases for alligators in the world.
 
Including the role of an artificial breeding base, Anhui Yangtze Alligator Breeding Research Center is now also a tourism scenic spot named Chinese Alligator Lake, opening to public with one million annual visitors, which is an excellent media to do related propagandas and educations so as to raise public awareness of alligator protection.
 
Ⅳ. Prospect of Protection
 
Despite the great achievements of Yangtze alligator protection, the protection of wild ones will still shoulder heavy responsibilities, for which a lot of problems need to be solved by effective strategies.
 
A. Problems
a. With the increase of human population, the development of urban and rural construction and the upgrading of industrial structures, the habitats of Yangtze alligators are threatened by land reclamation, water conservancy construction, road building and other economic activities.
b. The nature reserve doesn’t possess land use rights and water management authorities in related areas; as a result, the conflict occurs between agricultural irrigation water and living water for Yangtze alligators. Especially when it is in face of drought, the water in alligator living ponds is often drained out for farm irrigation.
c. Food shortage of Yangtze alligators was caused by a few local farmers’ excessive and illegal fishing of shrimps and fishes in the rivers and ponds. In addition, the extensive use of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and other toxic chemicals in agricultural production makes the significant reduction of snails, mussels and other aquatic organisms which are also main food resources of Yangtze alligators.
d. Few wild species of Yangtze alligators live in the habitats and no interaction facilities are set between habitats, which make it hard to achieve wild species copulating and breeding, causing the slow increasing population of the wild alligators. Meanwhile, the lack of gene exchange makes many excellent genes lost forever; hence, it is problematic to reserve the genetic diversity of wild Yangtze alligators.
 
B. Strategies
a. Reinforce daily patrols and protection propaganda: the managing staff of the nature reserve should find out and prevent habitat and fish resource vandalism in time by daily patrols, also strengthen the propaganda of laws and regulations about habitat area protection, give out related propaganda materials, and set billboards and warning signs.
b. Achieve co-development of Yangtze alligator habitats and related local communities: to improve the habitats based on the consideration of local agricultural production. In accordance with local conditions, the managing staff should make reservoirs and ponds reinforced in the habitats, and build inhabiting islands in the reservoirs and ponds. In addition, vegetation covering, river restoration and embankment hardening constructions are also needed.
c. Restore the habitats: to intensify the work of returning the grain plots to forestry, improve the existing habitats, develop artificial wetland habitats in hilly areas, keep systematic investigation on wetlands in the south of Anhui and along the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River so as to find another suitable large floodplain habitat area for the alligators’ existence and to make further alligator reintroduction, to finally put the Project of Artificial Breeding Yangtze Alligators Returning to Nature into effect. 
d. Fulfill community co-management: to improve co-development mechanisms for communities and the nature reserve areas, including public education and community co-management, etc.; to take suitable investment approaches to increase incomes of residents in local communities through rural practical technology training, infrastructure construction, related project supporting, efficient ecological agriculture development and so on, in order to make local farmers benefit from protecting Yangtze alligators and to take much care of them, also to support the protection activities.
 
We firmly believe that the protection of Yangtze alligators will possess a brilliant future with widespread public concern, active public participation, and hard working by the staff of the Yangtze Alligator Nature Reserve.
 
 
作者简介
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汪仁平,男,安徽省霍山县人,安徽扬子鳄国家级自然保护区管理局副研究员。1986年毕业于北京农业大学(现为中国农业大学)。从1986年开始至今,一直从事扬子鳄的饲养、研究和保护工作。发表论文40余篇,出版专著2部。
 
Author’s Profile
Wang Renping, male, an associate researcher of Anhui Yangtze Alligator National Nature Reserve Administration Bureau, was born in Huoshan County. Wang graduated from Beijing Agricultural University (now the China Agricultural University) in 1986, and since then, he has been engaged in breeding, researching and protecting Yangtze alligators, with more than 40 related papers and 2 monographs published.
 

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