Diversification of Three Cities/County Cooperation through Crested Ibis Hanzhong City - Sado City - South Gyeongsang Province, Changnyeong County
Hanzhong City South Gyeongsang Province, Changnyeong County Sado City

The three regions of Hanzhong, Shaanxi (China), Sado, Niigata (Japan), and Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang (Korea), as the habitats for the crested ibis, maintain active cooperation including province/prefecture-level cooperation.

The crested ibis once used to inhabit wide regions all across China, Japan, and Korea, but it is now on the verge of extinction due to excessive hunting. The crested ibis was last seen in Korea in 1979 in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), while it went extinct in Japan in 2003. The bird was thought to be extinct in China as well, but it was found in China in 1981 and then was successfully bred. As a symbol of friendship between countries, China gifted a pair of crested ibises to Japan in 1999 and to Korea in 2008. Both nations then successfully bred the pair.

Since then, trilateral conferences on topics such as reintroduction and habitat management, have been held by the three regions since 2012, alongside continued bilateral cooperation. At the Crested Ibis International Forum held in July 2019, the three regions signed an MOU agreeing to promote continuous exchange in the areas of protection of crested ibis, reintroduction, and protection and restoration of habitats, and to further enlarge the span of cooperation to people-to-people exchange, ecological tourism and promotion of related industries, based on the aforementioned exchanges on crested ibis.

  • MOU Signing Ceremony on July 2019. From left: TCS Secretary General, Governor of Changnyeong County, Mayor of Hanzhong, Mayor of Sado (Source: TCS)
1999 and 2008: China Gifted Crested Ibis to Japan and Korea
Japan has attempted breeding the Japanese crested ibis and the crested ibis lent by China since 1985, but has been unsuccessful. When Chinese President JIANG Zemin made a state visit to Japan in November 1998, he expressed his willingness to gift a pair of crested ibises to the Emperor of Japan. In 1999, a pair of crested ibises was gifted to Sado which later successfully produced new offspring.

Korea also received a pair of crested ibises from China. When Korean President LEE Myung-bak made a state visit to China in May 2008, Chinese President HU Jintao gifted a pair of crested ibises, which was then delivered to Changnyeong in November the same year. Korea also succeeded in breeding the bird.
Since 2012: CJK Information Sharing for Crested Ibis Protection and Proliferation Project
CJK personnel engaged in crested ibis protection and proliferation projects hold international conferences and symposiums to share information such as the current status of crested ibis protection. The three most recent events took place in November 2014 (China), in December 2016 (Japan), and in May 2019 (Korea).
Since 2018: The First Crested Ibis International Forum held in China, with an MOU Signed for Enlargement of Exchange in 2019
In May 2018, the first Crested Ibis International Forum was held in Yang County, Hanzhong. At the forum, CJK personnel in charge of matters related to crested ibis introduced relevant policies of each country. The forum was designed to discuss matters not only on protection of crested ibis, but also on a wide variety of areas including industry, tourism, and culture related to crested ibis.

On July 11, 2019, sponsored by the Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the TCS and the China Crested Ibis International Forum Secretariat co-hosted the Crested Ibis International Forum 2019 in Seoul. The forum was held in Seoul where the TCS is located, as the year 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the first CJK Summit held in 1999 as well as being the year when Korea first succeeded in returning crested ibis to the wild.

At the forum, the Deputy Mayor of Hanzhong ZHANG Jianguo, the Mayor of Sado MIURA Motohiro, the Governor of Changnyeong HAN Jeong Woo, and the Secretary-General of TCS LEE Jong Heon signed a quadrilateral MOU agreeing to carry out cooperation in various areas including cultural and ecological tourism, youth exchange, and events related to crested ibis. At each session of the forum, lively discussions on promoting local exchange and tourism through crested ibis took place. Moreover, exchange program for children from CJK cities inhabited by crested ibis was also run during the forum, while joint performance of CJK children took place prior to the afternoon session.
  • CJK Children’s Choir Singing Children’s Song at the Crested Ibis International Forum 2019 in Seoul (Source: TCS)

Events :

No. Date Location Theme
1st May 22-24, 2018 Hanzhong, Shaanxi, China Relationship Built through Crested Ibis, Future Built through Cooperation
2nd July 11, 2019 Seoul, Korea New Journey, New Phase: CJK Crested Ibis Cooperation for Sustainable Development
3rd 2022 [tentative] Sado, Niigata, Japan
May 2019: First Releasing of the Crested Ibis to the Wild in Korea with CJK VIPs
The long-awaited release of the crested ibis to the wild was held in Changnyeong, South Gyeongsang, the only habitat of crested ibis in Korea, on May 22, 2019. Chinese and Japanese distinguished guests were invited to the release ceremony, where the Deputy Mayor of Sado and the Governor of Changnyeong signed the Intention to restore the Crested Ibis Friendship Exchange. On the following day, the CJK Symposium on Reintroduction of Crested Ibis and Habitat Management was held in Changnyeong.
May 2021: CJK Online Conference Held to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Crested Ibis
On May 21, 2021, Shaanxi in China, Niigata in Japan, and South Gyeongsang in Korea co-hosted the event “To the Future – CJK Online Conference to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Crested Ibis”. The working officers of Hanzhong, Sado, and Changnyeong gave presentations online and offline on their experiences of protecting crested ibises and the vision for the future, followed by a performance of CJK students singing children’s song of crested ibises.
  • To the Future – CJK Online Conference to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Crested Ibis (Source: Shaanxi Province, China)
  • Chinese students singing at To the Future - CJK Online Conference to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Crested Ibis (Source: Shaanxi Province, China)