The China Bird Diversity Conservation Research Institute was established at a signing ceremony in Beijing on Friday, china.org.cn reported.

The organization was founded a month after an anonymous donation of 500,000 yuan (US$72,650) was received by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (hereafter referred to as the Foundation) in early June.

The benefactor was soon revealed to be entrepreneur Ai Yakang, who had asked the funds to be used toward the protection of birds.

As a result, the sum will become the first funding of the new research institute. Ai, who heads the board of directors at Sichuan Wanniao Culture Communication Co., was joined by the Foundation’s secretary-general Zhou Jinfeng and deputy secretary-general Xiao Qing at the signing ceremony.

Ai said that, as a member of the Yi ethnic group that originates from the Daliang Mountains, he has cherished an inherent love for nature and natural creatures since his childhood.

He has had a particular love for birds, and that loving and protecting birds has been his lifetime pursuit and mission, the report said.

Ai said that he hopes he can do something meaningful to protect nature and call on people to love birds, and protect nature and the ecology.

The research institute will be dedicated to the research and protection of global bird diversity conservation, including the study of bird habitats, protection zones, bird-watching areas and related natural environments.

Through the new organization, the Foundation and Ai have agreed to jointly promote the conservation of bird diversity and the bird-loving concepts of China to the world, the report said.

Zhou said that the establishment of the China Bird Diversity Conservation Research Institute is of great significance, and that it would be another professional project his foundation undertakes to protect biodiversity. He gave praise and gratitude toward Ai and his team for their great support, the report said.

Prior to establishing the research institute, Ai and the Foundation launched the “Yakang International Bird Lovers Project” and held the “Ai Yakang World Bird Lovers Festival” in mid-June.

The institute’s establishment signifies a stepping up of efforts toward the protection of bird species since the Foundation launched its international bird-watching activities in 2016.