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A King Amidst the Misty World: Excellent Maintenance of Yushan National Park Habitat Leads to Stable Mikado Pheasant Population


Everyone must be familiar with Taiwan’s national bird Syrmaticus mikado, also known as the Mikado Pheasant (Hei Chang Wei Chih 黑長尾雉), that is printed on our $1,000 TWD dollar note. But what you may not know is that the Mikado Pheasants are listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species by the IUCN in 1966 due to problems of poaching and their habitat around the world being destroyed. They are also being listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as category 1 on the prohibited trading list. In Taiwan, the Mikado Pheasant is a very precious and rare animal and is classified as a level two protected species. Within the Yushan jurisdiction, the Mikado Pheasant habitat is under comprehensive protection due to the establishment of the National Park. The number of Mikado Pheasant currently exceeds 10,000.

The Outcomes from the Yushan National Park’s Investigation from the Recent Decades Had Revealed that the Number of Mikado Pheasant Exceeded 10,000

The Yushan National Park Headquarters (will be referred to as the Yushan Headquarters for short) had entrusted 2 famous bird experts, Professor Hsiao-Tung Hsieh and Professor Hsiao-Ju Liu to investigate the bird back in 1985-1986. They had discovered that the Mikado Pheasant likes to live in the bottom layer of the needle-leaved and broad-leaved mixed leaved forest that is situated in the 1,800-3,800m above sea level. They are most frequently discovered at 2,300-2,550m above sea level and prefer slopes that are steeper (between 30-60 degrees). They are also found in secondary forest and industrial forest land. They tend to move to a lower altitude during wintertime. Areas of activity are mostly found in forest tracks where the land is covered with plantations and fallen leaves. They can also be found walking at the steep cliff. The estimated number of Mikado Pheasant is between 5600~10,000. In addition, between 1996 to 1999, Professor Ya-Ling Chiao from Tung Hai University (THU) was entrusted to conduct an investigation and released a report that there were an estimated 53 Mikado Pheasants in the Jyunda Forest Track. The population density of Mikado Pheasants were 59 birds/km2. The estimated population density for Jhongjhihguan Trail was 69 birds/ km2. Therefore, it is estimated that there are at least 11,000 Mikado Pheasant in the Yushan National Park.

The Yushan Headquarters has pointed out that it is more likely to encounter wild Mikado Pheasant families in areas where Mikado Pheasant, the protected species are being preserved in Taiwan or the world: Yushan National Park, Taroko National Park, Shei-Pa National Park, and others. The alpine type of national park has a greater change within the environment itself due to the large area and high altitude. The middle to high altitudes environment is the habitat in which the Mikado Pheasants like to reside. Therefore, when working towards preserving this special breed in Taiwan, it is necessary to maintain their growth and reproductive habitat. Over the recent years, there has been an increase in the awareness among the people in Taiwan over the preservation of animals and the environment, therefore the implementation of promotion and education of Mikado Pheasants have become one of the key works in the National Park.

The Mikado Pheasant Often Appears in the Early Morning and Night of Tataka between April to September

The locations where the Mikado Pheasants can be found include Nantou County’s Sinyi Township Tataka region, the Jyunda Forest Track, the peripheral area of the Laklak River, Batongguan Ancient Road, and the Maravi Track in Hualian. Among these, groups of Mikado Pheasants are most likely found in the Tataka region. For over 10 years, according to the observations and records during dusk carried out by the staff members at the headquarters, every April to September, there is approximately a 50% chance of seeing a Mikado Pheasant family. Furthermore, the chances of seeing a male Mikado Pheasant is approximately 75%. When a female Mikado Pheasant encounters human, they will quickly run away. Their breeding season is between April to August. Please walk slowly at the Yushan Forest Track, Shihshan Service Station, and the peripheral areas of Gigantic Hemlock.If you would like to meet by chance in the Tataka region, please visit these places during the early morning or at dusk. If you do so, you will have a greater chance of meeting Mikado Pheasants, which appear in pairs. When you observe carefully, you will find out that, when the male and the female walk side by side, the male appears guarded. Therefore, when you do see them, just follow them patiently and quietly. Although there is the Sixth Division, Seventh Special Police Corps of the National Police Agency on duty to assist with the protection and prevention of law breaching in the National Park, occasionally there are still the odd bird traps or hunting gears. Therefore, if you find anything suspicious or hunting gears that breach the law when you are hiking in the Yushan National Park, please go to the Visitor Center and report this to the on-site management personnel. The phone numbers to report cases are Shui-Li headquarters (049-2773121), Tataka Visitor Center (049-2702200), Sea of Clouds Hiking Visitor Center (049-2702228), Nan-an Visitor Center (03-8887560). Let us protect this beautiful environment and give the wild animals a healthy and safe habitat to thrive.