Korea Destinations: Jeongyangneup, Hapcheon-gun, A Stepping Stone That Connects Nature and Human Life

A natural monument tortoise that lives in Jeongyang Wetland was recently discovered in Jeongyang Wetland, Hapcheon-gun. 

‘Namsaengi’, a Class II endangered wildlife legally protected species, is a representative freshwater tortoise in Korea and has been caught indiscriminately in the private sector or in oriental medicine because it is said to be good for rejuvenation. It was designated as Natural Monument No. 453 in 2005 to protect the population due to the rapid decline in the number of habitats due to the spread of alien species and the destruction of water quality. 

The research team at Ewha Woman’s University who discovered the tortoises said that the native freshwater turtle tortoise is a species with high protection value that maintains the health of the aquatic ecosystem of lakes and rivers.

Image: Hapcheon-gun

As an alternative to the recent climate crisis, the importance of wetlands has increased as the value of wetlands is known as a repository of biodiversity. Jeongyangneup, Hapcheon-gun, is a place where a healthy food chain has been maintained and migratory birds have returned to visit Jeongyangneup Ecological Park for seven years.

Located in Jeongyang-ri, Daeyang-myeon, Hapcheon-gun, Jeongyangneup was created by ten thousand years of time from sea level rise and deposition of the main Nakdong River after the post-glacial period about 10,000 years ago.

It is a wetland in the hinterland of Acheon, a tributary of the Hwanggang River, and has been reported as a wetland with a high biological and ecological conservation value as a habitat for various animals and plants. 

Jeongyang Wetland, a treasure trove of endangered wildlife and full of moisture and nutrients, is a habitat for a variety of aquatic life. There are otters (endangered wild species I class) and tortoises (endangered wild species class II), which are natural monuments, and there are endangered wild animals class II, such as giant dragonflies, giant geese, giant swans, and swans. 

In particular, the golden frog is a native species of Korea that is only found in Korea, and the Jeongyangneup has the largest habitat in Gyeongsang Province and has high protection value, so the Ministry of Environment recently visited Hapcheon-gun with an interest in wildlife protection. 

A closer look at the vegetation conditions shows 11 plant communities including prickly lotus and reeds, 67 species of birds such as swans, 28 species of fish such as swans, 226 species of land insects such as giant dragonflies, 8 species of amphibian reptiles such as gold frogs, and mammals such as otters.

The discovery of a natural monument tortoiseshell in Jeongyangneup was aided by a research team led by Professor Jang Kwon Jang of the Eco Science Department of Ewha Woman’s University Industry-University Cooperation Foundation.

Image: Gyeongnam province

A space for harmony between humans and nature, Jeongyangneup Ecological Park

Jeongyangneup Ecological Park has an ecology learning center, Jeongyangneup Life Path, observation deck, children’s playground, bird watching tower, and flower tunnel around the wetland area of ​​410,000 square meters.

Wetlands can be observed along the 3.2km trail, and in winter when migratory birds gather, large geese and swans can be observed at the ecology learning center and bird observation tower with bird watching facilities. 

The wetland forest serves as a small island with a variety of wildflowers, willows and aquatic plants. The riverside trail with rocks with a story like ‘The General’s Fist and Footprint Rock’ has a beautiful surrounding landscape, so it’s good for trekking and even crossing a stepping stone.

Hapcheon-gun operates a wetland experience program to inform the endangered species living in Jeongyang Wetland and the value of Jeongyang Wetland.

The program is organized around wetland creatures that can be easily observed by season, and the experience area is selected to conduct ecological experience activities and commentary programs with natural environment interpreters.

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Haps Staff
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