Poverty-relief relocation returns nest to eagles

2019-07-08 02:24:37 GMT2019-07-08 10:24:37(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

KUNMING, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Five months after the poverty-relief relocation, Laoyingyan Village in southwest China's Yunnan Province has welcomed an increasing number of eagles -- much more than Zhang Yunzhen has ever imagined.

Zhang is a resident in Laoyingyan, a poverty-stricken village in Huize County. It is halfway up the Wumeng Mountain region, surrounded by cliffs on three sides.

"No one can escape poverty in this village," said the 42-year-old farmer.

All of the 98 Laoyingyan residents live below the poverty line, earning less than 2,800 yuan (407 U.S. dollars) per year.

The road is the major obstacle. Laoyingyan is connected to the outside world only by a steep mountain road where people have to climb more than 10 km to get to the nearest market.

Even raising livestock is not easy. "We have to tie ropes in pigsties to prevent pigs from rolling down the cliffs, or our hard work will be in vain," Zhang said.

Laoyingyan, which means eagle rock in Chinese, is named after rocks behind the village where eagles used to nest and breed. It is said that ancestors of Laoyingyan settled down here to avoid wars.

"It more or less disturbs the animal's life," Zhang said. "Some people in nearby villages tease us as 'human occupying nests of eagles.'"

The opportunity of returning home to the large bird finally came. Under China's poverty relief campaign to lift all rural people out of poverty by 2020, Yunnan has been relocating those in poverty-hit communities to developed areas since 2016, constructing houses and offering tailored social services to ensure a smooth relocation.

In January, Zhang moved out of the mountain to the county. "With brand new houses, schools and jobs, I am living my dream."

Yunnan is expected to relocate a total of 995,000 impoverished people by the end of this year to help lift them out of poverty. So far, Huize has relocated more than 100,000 people.

After the relocation, Laoyingyan is no longer a village but a wild wonderland for eagles.

According to Zhang, on rocks behind Laoyingyan, an increasing number of eagles have made lots of new nests and some even swagger around with their babies in houses and yards.

"Eagles have returned to the eagle rocks, and we have embraced modern life. Humans and animals all live where they are supposed to," Zhang said.

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