|A young Tibetan antelope interacting.|
The Tibetan antelope habitat of the Hoh Xil area in China's Qinghai Province is set to be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. According to Jia Yingzhong, director of the Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, preparation work on the effort began in late 2014. She estimated that preparations would be finished in 2017 in time for a vote at the annual World Heritage Committee meeting. As of now, China has 47 places listed as World Heritage Site and if Hoh Xil is added, it would be the first for Qinghai Province. The history of Hoh Xil dates back to 1995 when it was nominated as a national nature preserve in the border area of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Covering an area of 45,000 square kilometers and situated at an elevation of 4,600 meters, this is the largest area of desolate land that has long been a haven for wildlife. More than 230 species of animals call this stretch of land home. In addition to the Tibetan antelope, other animals include the Himalayan brown bear, kiang, Thorold's deer, and the wild yak. Despite the abundance of wildlife, Hoh Xil has been targeted by poachers towards the end of the 20th century. Among the most targeted animals was the Tibetan antelope due to the popularity of shahtoosh. As a result, the population of the Tibetan antelope dwindled from 200,000 to 20,000 by 1997. One of the most extraordinary and brave stories behind the success of Hoh Xil revolved around a local official named Jesung Sonam Dargye, who spent his entire life trying to save the Tibetan antelope. His dedication and sacrifice helped awaken the public's awareness of Hoh Xil's ecosystem and even became immortalized in the film Kekexili: Mountain Patrol. As a result, the area's environment improved significantly. The Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Administration Bureau indicated that no poaching has been carried out since 2006 and the Tibetan antelope population increased to approximately 60,000 animals.
|Hoh Xil landscape|
This is an extremely amazing news that the Hoh Xil area will be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only is it home to some breathtaking features, including the wildlife, but is an example of remarkable success in protecting the wildlife. This was due to an extraordinary courage and bravery of Jesung Sonam Dargye, who sacrificed his life in saving one of Hoh Xil's most iconic treasures: the Tibetan antelope. The Hoh Xil area is now home to about 60,000 of these magnificent antelopes and other amazing species of animals as well. Although the Tibetan antelope's population is relatively stable in Hoh Xil, the demand for shahtoosh has not ceased. This is especially seen in Pakistan where the demand remains high. It is essential to reduce the demand for shahtoosh through behavior change and awareness campaigns in Pakistan, as well as targeting poachers operating in areas that function as prime Tibetan antelope habitat. The goal is to ensure the survival of these antelopes and that includes conducting conservation efforts to possibly rebound their population higher than 60,000.
View article here