N. China wetland shut down after swan deaths

A resort in China’s second largest wetland was closed after a dozen swans are suspected to have died of food poisoning.

The Pinglu Yellow River Wetland Protection Area in northern Shanxi Province is one of the nation’s largest migration spots for swans, with the birds arriving from Russian and Siberia.

Bird enthusiasts often volunteer to help take care of the 10,000 swans that arrive following their winter migration.

But after the bodies of a dozen swans and several wild ducks were found on Jan 4, national forestry officials have closed down the wetland to the public.

Wang Tian’En, a park ranger at the wetland, told China’s official Xinhua News Agency he suspected the bird’s food was poisoned and that this was not an epidemic such as bird flu.

Each year, the local forestry department sends food to help feed the birds, who would otherwise have a hard time finding enough to eat.

Wang believes a portion of this year’s 30,000 kg of corn and cabbage may have been poisoned by poachers so they could collect and eat the bird’s meat.

In some parts of China, a dish containing swan meat can cost up to 600 yuan ($96 USD). If sold live at an illegal market, the birds can fetch up to 3000 yuan.

There are 239 species of birds residing in the Pinglu Yellow River Wetland Protection Area, with 37 protected at the national level.

Men with schizophrenia in rural China more likely to die than women

A follow up to a 14 year study from the University of Hong Kong has found men with schizophrenia in rural China have a much more difficult time than women with the disorder.

When compared with female patients,  male patients were considerably younger, had higher death, suicide and homless rates, and less family or social support.

The shorter survival rate among men may explain why schizophrenia is more prevalent among women in rural areas, the report concluded.

Beginning in 1994, researchers with Hong Kong University’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration began observing progress of schizophrenia patients in Xinjin County, Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Follow-up research was conducted in 2004 and 2008 before the conclusion of the study. The latest data from the long-term project was published in the British Journal of Psychology, January 2015, Volume 206, Issue 1.