Saturday, May 19, 2012

Flooding of Lakes May Disrupt Tibetan Antelope Migration

Tibetan antelope

The Tibetan antelope has long been threatened by poaching and habitat loss over the years, but now there is another threat that could affect its way of life. A recent report has shown that lakes in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are overflowing with flood water that may disrupt the antelopes' approaching migration and birthing season. One of these lakes is the Khuse Lake in Hoh Xil Nature Preserve in China's Qinghai Province, which is home to about 70,000 Tibetan antelopes. According to Xiao Penghu, deputy chief of Hoh Xil's administration, the lake has swelled with flood water since last September and has overflown into other lakes such as the Haiding Nor. In addition to the antelopes, the flooding of lakes has also engulfed routes of the nature preserve's mountain patrollers. One patroller named Karma Yarphel stated that a river on his route to Khuse Lake had swelled from 80 meters to about 600 meters wide. The administration is keeping a close watch on the lakes, as flood waters have also swallowed their migration routes. Every June, pregnant Tibetan antelopes migrate to the Hoh Xil Nature Preserve to give birth and then leave with their fawns in September.

I feel that this problem should be looked at closely, and should also involve public support in order to help save the nature preserve. The cause of flooding has confused authorities, and Mr. Penghu noted that meteorological records from the local weather bureau did not show any significant rise in rainwater since last fall. He further explained that melting glaciers on the plateau could be the issue, but even glacial water cannot explain such a catastrophe. However, researchers have found that glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are melting faster due to the impact of global warming. A data from China's Meteorological Administration has shown that about 82 percent of glacial surfaces on the plateau have retreated, and that the area has decreased by 4.5 percent in the past 20 years. Mr. Penghu also stated that setting up of dynamic surveillance is required, along with conducting geographical, hydrological, and meteorological researches in order to find out what causes the floods and their impact on the ecology. I also feel that this article gives a clear representation about the impact of global warming in other places around the world where there is an abundance of glaciers. And for this reason, the world has to do whatever it can to decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. We must not look at one particular place, which is the Arctic region. We must think globally.

View article here

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