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Protecting the antelopes

By Yang Yang | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-11 09:46

Tibetan antelopes from Tibet, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and Three-River-Source region in Qinghai arrive at Zhuonai Lake in Hoh Xil, Qinghai province at the end of May and the start of June. [Photo provided to China Daily]

It was a summer evening in the late 1990s. Tsering Samdrup, then in his 20s, was driving with his fellow patrolmen around Zhuonai Lake in Hoh Xil, in Qinghai province, where tens of thousands of Tibetan antelopes from Tibet, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions and Three-River-Source region in Qinghai had arrived at the end of May and the start of June.

Suddenly they stopped the vehicle and stayed put.

"About a dozen meters away, a huge brown bear with its back to us was busy digging a hole looking for marmots." says Tsering, 43.

The brown bear soon pulled a marmot out of the hole, alive and kicking, but just tucked it under its left arm and continued digging.

Another unlucky marmot was soon drawn out.

The bear then hastily tried to tuck the second marmot under its left arm, forgetting there was one there already.

So, as it raised its left arm, the first marmot dropped down and ran away, replaced by the second one.

The bear dug out six marmots in total, but only got away with the last one.

The big fluffy predator was unaware of the presence of the amused humans in the car.

"If bears get something to eat, they have no time for you," says Tsering.

But this was not the closest he got to bears.

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