XI'AN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- A new group of 30 artificially bred crested ibis, an endangered bird species once believed to be extinct in China, will be released into the wild in September in northwest China, said a nature reserve official Saturday.
The 30 birds from the Crested Ibis Nature Reserve in Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province received one to two years of survival training to help them live in the wild, said Wang Chao, deputy director of the nature reserve administration.
They were transported to the Qianhu state-level wetland park in Baoji City on Friday and will be freed there on Sept. 9, said Wang.
In July last year, 32 artificially bred crested ibis were released at a tree farm in Tongchuan City. One ibis pair successfully hatched two chicks this year.
After more than 30 years of conservation, the crested ibis population has been growing in the south of the province, said Chu Longfei, a wildlife protection official with the Shaanxi Forestry Department.
Both Tongchuan and Baoji are located to the north of the Qinling Mountains in the south of Shaanxi.
The selection of the wetland park for the new release is aimed at expanding the habitat of the species, he said.
Once common in Japan, China, Russia and the Korean Peninsula, zoologists thought the crested ibis became extinct in the first half of the 20th century. But in 1981, seven crested ibis were found in Shaanxi's Yangxian County.
The population of crested ibis is more than 2,000 in China, including about 1,000 in the wild.