Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Society

All-female ranger team in China's northernmost national park

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-04 16:53
Share - WeChat

HARBIN -- At a gentle slope sweeping down to the forest of the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, a handful of female wildlife rangers waded knee-deep through snowbanks, leaving a trail of footprints in the snow.

Braving freezing mountain winds, they moved slowly. Sweat dripped down from their foreheads, although the temperature was at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

"We can't take a long break, or our body temperature would quickly fall," said Xu Chunmei, a member of the ranger team, leaning on a stout trunk.

After a breather, they struggled back to the forest to carry out their mission of protecting the forest and at-risk wildlife.

The team of female rangers, a relative rarity in a sector keeping jobholders out in the field, is responsible for patrolling more than 23,000 hectares of the national park, home to some 50 Amur tigers, one of the world's most endangered species with a wild population of some 500.

To protect the big cats and restore the ecosystem, China has established the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park with an area of over 14,000 square km, spanning Northeast China's border provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang.

Over the last decade, China has designated five national parks, aiming to build the world's largest national park system by 2035 to help protect the country's wildlife.

The team of six got its start in 2019, under the authority of the forestry and grassland bureau of Dongning city, Heilongjiang province.

Along their 6.5-km patrolling route through the forest, the team will search and remove animal traps, and rescues wildlife. They are under the real threat of not only the frigid winter and heavy snow, but also the inhabiting wildlife.

"One summer day, we patrolled along a ravine and encountered a hornet's nest. All of a sudden, countless wasps rushed at me. The wasp sting hurt terribly," recalled team member Zhang Xin.

"Besides routine patrolling, they excel in data-gathering and are the best data collectors," said Li Gang, deputy head of the local forestry station. "Their meticulous work is really impressive."

Along the way, the female rangers grapple with all kinds of threats to the wildlife and forest and conduct wildlife monitoring, forest fire prevention, and publicity.

"Many of us came from a long line of forestry workers, our parents and grandparents built their careers deep in the forest," said Xu, a 33-year-old mother of a boy. "We grew up here, witnessing our families' hunting and deforestation. We know we have a responsibility to take on the role of forest guardian."

The contrast between their elder generation and themselves made all the team members feel proud. And they decided to pass down the spirit of wildlife protection.

"I often tell my story to my boy, and he really likes it," said Xu. "The awareness of wildlife protection seems to be taking root in the younger generation of foresters."

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349