The breeding season of the Tibetan antelopes are also the most dangerous time for them to fall prey to their predators. Staff at local wild life protection center are working hard to save as many antelopes as they can.
On Sunday, in a remarkable rescue, a group of new-born Tibetan antelopes have been saved by staff at a protection station in Hoh Xil, or Keke Xili in western China’s Qinghai province. They are now under intense care.
Our reporter Wang Guan is now in Hoh-xil.He travels to the protection place to check out how these babe antelopes are recovering.
These baby Tibetan antelopes never thought their first time to feel the warmth of their mothers was also their last.
Shortly after they were born last Saturday, a herd of wild animals attacked their mothers and killed them in a split second. These infants ran as far as could until they were discovered by staff at this wild life protection center.
In this protection center in Hoh-xil,
Han Zongping is the chief care-taker. She is the only female volunteer working here. Every morning, she wakes up before dawn to prepare breakfast for these animals. She and her husband lived in a comfortable townhouse in central China’s Hubei province. Leaving the comfort of modernity and come thus far to help protect the Tibetan antelopes, this,she said is the life she wanted.
“When I first came here I had a hard time adapting–the high altitude and lack of oxygen. But I still love it. I read a lot Tibetan antelopes and struggles to protect them. I was moved by those who worked hard to protect them. That’s why I came here too.”
There are dozens of volunteers working at five protection sites in Hoh-xil, China’s largest nature reserve area Preserving Tibetan antelopes is one of their major tasks.
The number of this species has dropped over 90 percent to just around 70 thousand. They need protection against harsh weather conditions, illegal poachers and other predators since the survival rate of these babies is only 25 percent. Locals told us the monitoring and protection network have been expanding. The government, the enterprise as well as NGOs are all playing their part.
“Local government helps set up protection sites such as this one. Most of the staff here are paid employees of the government. Secondly, enterprise such as Heng Yuanxiang, a major wool-product manufacturer, donates one million yuan a year to this protection center. Also, lots of environmentalists and volunteers call us and say they want to join us, for nothing.”
But professor Wang Hailin, an expert studying the preservation of Tibetan antelopes for over 20 years believes protection alone is not enough to save this endangered species. He said it’s also important to treat the problem at its roots.
“The main manufacturing center and consumer market of Tibetan antelope fur is China’s neighboring countries and a few western countries. I hope they can stop consuming the antelope skin and fur-made products. Because when consuming stops, killing can stop too.”
He also said environmental degradation is another killer. Receding grassland left antelopes with little to eat while rising temperatures, a result of global warming, turned many solid earth into swamps. Therefore, protecting the animal indigenous to this land for thousands of years remains an uphill battle.