In September 1987, a pair of swans broke free and flew away while Xiujuan was bathing them. Though very ill at the time, she went looking for them. When she heard fluting swan calls from the opposite of a river, she waded through the water toward them. The two birds were soon found, but Xiujuan went missing. Her body was later retrieved from the river. Unfortunately she drowned from exhaustion in her search and came to be known as China’s first environmental protection martyr. Near her grave in the reserve, a memorial hall has been built to tell her heroic story to visitors.