(Yicai Global) March 20 -- A court in China has ordered a unit of China Hydropower Engineering Consulting Group to stop building a hydropower station on the Cansa river since it is likely to flood the habitat of an endangered species of green peafowl, Xinhua News Agency reported today.
Kunming Intermediate People's Court in southwestern Yunnan province issued a first-instance judgment today, demanding that Xinping Development stop construction work on the dam, not take and store water, or cut down plants in the hydropower station's submerged area.
Xinping Development started building the power plant on the Cansa, the main tributary of the Red river in Yunnan, in 2016 and planned to put it into operation this year.
In 2017, environmental group Friends of Nature claimed that once it starts storing water, the project will flood the protected bird's habitat, leading to its extinction in the region.
The group also said the station's supporting project requires trees to be cut on both sides of the river and roads built, which will also endanger a protected plant, Cycas chenii, in the region and destroy the precious monsoon forest ecosystem in the dry and hot valley. Friends of Nature subsequently filed a lawsuit.
The court ruled that the authorities will determine follow-up treatment for the station based on the specific situation, after Xinping completes a post-environmental impact assessment according to Ministry of Ecology and Environment requirements, and takes improvement steps and reports that to the ministry.
Work on the hydropower station was suspended during the lawsuit, Xinhua said.
Peacocks are divided into Indian, or blue, peafowls and green peafowls. The rare green peafowl is a species unique to China and Southeast Asia. They mainly inhabit tropical and subtropical forests below 2,000 meters altitude. They especially enjoy river banks, or forest grasslands in open valleys and open areas of forests. These are exactly areas where humans are also active, which has greatly reduced their living space.
Experts estimate that the number of wild green peafowls in China may be less than 500, according to a report by broadcaster CCTV in 2018.
Editor: Peter Thomas