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Payout scheme for animal attack victims
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-15 06:33

LHASA: Residents in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region are set to receive compensation if they are injured in attacks by wild animals in a bid to reduce the number of hunters.

The regional government of Tibet is hoping the new regulation, which will also cover damage to property, will ensure the State-protected wild animal population is not culled by people.

Recent efforts to protect wild animals have been very successful and their population has been increasing year by year, said Sampe Wanggyai, a wildlife protection official with the regional forestry administration.

"However, the animals are indeed wild and there have been injuries and fatalities to local residents."

The local forestry administration says the wild animal population has increased more than 30 per cent over the last 20 years.

Tibet is home to almost 800 species of wild animals including animals, birds and fish. Some 125 species are under State protection and more than 200 species are native to the Tibetan Plateau.

Over the past few years, wild animals, particularly bears, wild yaks and snow leopards have attacked local people.

At the Qiangtang Nature Reserve, one of the world's largest nature reserves, wild animal attacks on livestock and property have cost local herders more than 1 million yuan (US$125,000) over the past 10 years.

According to Sampe Wanggyai, northern Tibetan people are most often attacked by wild yaks and brown bears, while those in central Tibet have to be on the lookout for snow leopards, brown bears and wolves.

"In a bid to protect rare wildlife and at the same time safeguard local people's lives and property, we have been formulating a set of rules to compensate farmers and herders who suffer injuries and losses from wild animal attacks," said Sampe Wanggyai.

According to the new rules, the compensation will cover human injuries, death and damage to crops, as well as injuries to domestic animals caused by wild animals.

The rules also say that poachers and people who tease the wild animals will not be compensated if they are injured. Under the rules, the cost of the compensation will be split between the regional, prefecture and county governments.

(China Daily 02/15/2006 page2)

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