Population of endangered Tibetan antelopes expanding

Updated: 2007-08-26 15:09

GOLMUD - The population of Tibetan antelopes in Hoh Xil, a key nature reserve in Northwest China for the endangered animal, has expanded by 200 percent in the past 10 years,thanks to anti-poaching and other protection efforts.

Currently, the number of the Tibetan antelopes in the nature reserve is close to 60,000, compared with 20,000 in 1997, said Cega, director of the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Administration, based in Qinghai Province.

Approximately 40,000 Tibetan antelopes gave births to cubs this year and around 80 percent of the newborn antelopes survived, Cega said.

"Since the administration was established in 1997, workers have staged continuous crackdown on armed poaching activities, a major threat to the species," said Cega.

"Tibetan antelopes have been able to live and reproduce in an improved ecological environment without gun shots," Cega said.

A rare species spotted only in China, Tibetan antelopes are targeted by poachers for use in making shawls that sell for up to US$11,000 each. Their rampant hunting has led to a drastic decline in the antelope population, from hundreds of thousands early last century to just around 70,000 to 100,000 today.

The 45,000-sq km Hoh Xil lies at the juncture of Qinghai, Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is also home to  wild yak, Tibetan wild ass and other species.

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