GIMHAE, Jul. 16 (Korea Bizwire) — The white heron, which is called the auspicious sign of affluence, has become the target of collective civil petitions.
The number of white herons has recently increased to more than 1,000 after more than 400 came to Gujibong Peak in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, in May.
Since then, the city and local residents have had to suffer from the noise, feathers and odors of the white herons. Residents at nearby apartments had no choice but to file complaints with local authorities.
Local residents are losing sleep due to white heron calls at night, and are suffering from the rotting odor of excretion, dead bodies, and scraps.
An environmental civic group attributed the worsening habitat from the spread of pesticides on nearby farmland to one of the reasons behind the swarms of white herons moving to the Gujibong Peak area.
Local authorities in Gimhae are working on measures, such as pruning pine trees and logging, where white herons reside.
However, the local government is having a hard time obtaining permission from the Cultural Heritage Administration.
Since Gujibong Peak is private property, in order to enforce the measures, local authorities must have permission beforehand.
To make the situation worse, white herons are not designated as harmful animals so the local government is not allowed to hunt on the grounds of excessive noise or odors.
The city is also struggling to find a way to co-exist with the summer migratory birds until they return, while addressing difficulties for residents.
“We will accept white herons, a summer migratory bird that visits every year, to find out if there are any measures to promote beautiful coexistence as an eco-tourism city,” said an official from Gimhae.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)