Quarantined Chinese citizens who usually make an annual pilgrimage to feed migrating seagulls are paying delivery men to do it for them because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Wang Guitao, who works for Chinese food delivery company ELEME, says he and his colleagues are each receiving up to six orders a day from would-be visitors of Dian Lake in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province in south-western China.
Early spring usually brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the shores of Dian Lake for the annual migration of black-headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), which travel thousands of miles south from Siberia in search of warmer weather.
However, tourists have been barred from the embankments of the river during the coronavirus outbreak, with visitors only allowed in on 3rd March.
Many tourists who would otherwise have travelled to Kunming for the annual bird watching spectacle are now cooped up at home and fulfilling their desire to help by hiring delivery men who are now taking their orders through the ELEME application.
Mr Wang told local media: “Many people are staying at home during the outbreak.
“Since the end of February, we’ve been receiving these orders. We get about five or six a day.
“We call this cloud-based feeding. Clients place orders remotely, and we come here to help fulfil their wish.”
According to Mr Wang, one client ordered 40 RMB (4 GBP) worth of seagull bread from a lakeside vendor and asked for the food not to be delivered, but instead fed directly to the birds circling the embankment.
Mr Wang added: “One day I received an order for 18 bags of bread. They didn’t want them for themselves, but wanted me to go feed the birds myself.”
One of the orders read: “Please have the ELEME delivery man feed the seagull. I can’t make it this year. I usually go every year. Please feed them for me.”
According to reports, despite a number of tourists showing up to feed the seagulls, the Kunming municipal government has arranged for staff members to regularly feed the birds in the absence of large visitor numbers.
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