Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tibetan Antelope Numbers Rise to 200,000

Tibetan antelopes

Recently, the Tibet Autonomous Region has witnessed some very good news. The numbers of the Tibetan antelope have risen to 200,000 animals from critically low numbers in the past years. This magnificent species of antelope was once threatened to extinction due to poaching for its prized coat which is made into shatoosh, along with habitat destruction. But now, it appears that it has made a comeback from the brink. According to Liu Wulin, president of the Forestry Survey and Planning Institute in Tibet, the result of this growth in population was due to an eighteen-year study focusing on the animal's distribution, habitat, and growth rate completed by a team of 119 researchers. The first calculation was done in 2006, in which figures showed that there were 150,000 antelopes in the 710,000 square kilometer-area in Tibet and numbers were increasing by a rate of seven percent. However, even though it appears the Tibetan antelope has bounced back from the extinction's brink, conservationists still believe the animal's survival depends on tougher measures to ensure its protection. According to Yang Xin of an environmental NGO (non-governmental organization) Green River, the region's economic development has had a major impact on the animal's population. He further added that nomadic herdsmen may expand their farming areas to lands untouched by people. Furthermore, the construction of highways and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway also had an impact on the animals' lives.

I'm very happy for now that the Tibetan antelope numbers have increased to 200,000. However, I also feel that even though it seems like good news, the animal is still under threat of poaching and habitat destruction. These animals had once been pushed to the brink, and are now in the process of making a comeback. This means that stronger measures in their protection must be endured. One of the strategies would be to have the Chinese government to place a ban on human activities in Tibet's reserve areas where the antelopes roam freely. In addition to that, cooperation with international community should be strengthened. This way, the Tibetan antelope will continue to flourish in the wild and mysterious lands of Tibet.

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