Tuesday, January 9, 2007


I was waiting to see how long it would take before this was raised as an issue: birds killed by Taiwan's new high speed rail.

On a press trip, we could see the snub nose of the train smeared with blood: having hit birds along the route.

The PR people told us it happens with all high speed rail systems around the world.

Anyhow, this is a story that was running in Taipei Times yesterday: with a somewhat sensational headline.

High speed trains said to be causing bird massacre
BIRD BLOODBATH: Birdwatchers in the south of the country claim that the bloodstains on bullet trains are evidence of wild birds' inability to avoid the vehicles

By Shelley Shan
STAFF REPORTER Monday, Jan 08, 2007,

Only days after beginning official operations, the high speed rail system has attracted the ire of yet another group of critics: bird lovers.

Birdwatchers in southern Taiwan said last week that bullet trains are killing "many" wild birds along the high speed rail routes. Although they could not provide numbers to support their claims, they pointed to bloodstains "commonly seen" on the bullet trains as evidence of an avian massacre.

Activists are urging the Council of Agriculture to investigate: and said if they found that birds' lives were endangered by the high-speed rail, they should file
a lawsuit against Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) for violating the Wildlife Conservation Law .

THSRC were quoted as saying:

"railway accidents would not jeopardize the safety of the high speed rail. It also said that it believes wild birds would learn to avoid flying near the fast-moving trains."

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