The recent snowstorm at the Wolong National Nature Reserve resulted in a food crisis for birds and other wildlife, reported Sichuan News Network and Chengdu Economic Daily.
Last week, the Dengsheng Wildlife Protection Station at Balang Mountain, attempted to save these wild birds by sprinkling 150 kilograms of rice along the road.
It is the heaviest snow in 30 years, said Yang Jian, who heads the station. About 20 centimeters of snow collected on the ground surface, affecting the movement of mountain dwellers as well as that of yaks and other livestock.
Many wild birds have died of starvation, while autopsy revealed that their stomachs are empty. Most plants are buried in the snow, which freezes at night. Coupled with the slow growth of sprouts due to the late coming of spring in Wolong, these birds inevitably face death.
There are about 286 species of wild birds in the 800 square meter area under the care of the Dengsheng Wildlife Protection Station. As long as the snow remains unmelted, more birds will starve to death.
Staff from the Dengsheng Wildlife Protection Station and volunteers from the Chengdu Birdwatching Society trekked the snow-capped mountains to sprinkle rice along the road, creating a five-kilometre "food belt".
Yang said that the birds are usually active in mornings and evenings, and staff from the station are monitoring the effects of such an artificial feeding attempted, before deciding what to do next.
The snow on the ground is likely to take at least another two weeks to melt completely, Yang added.
The same snowstorm on 21 March damaged 240,000 bamboo trees, posing a threat to the pandas' livelihood.