Tibetan antelope protected during migration, population recovered

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June 5th is World Environment Day. In 2014, China's National People's Congress Law Committee prescribed a new set of rules for "World Environment Day", which state that June 5th is also the "Environment Day" in order to further enhance public awareness of environmental protection.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency, the Tibetan antelope in the Changtang National Nature Reserve have already entered the special migration area to reproduce. There are currently more than 100,000 Tibetan antelope gathering in the area and they are expected to head north in mid-June, covering a distance of between 200 and 400 kilometers.

Tibetan antelope are a first-grade national protected animal in China. They are mainly found in the Tibet, Qinghai and western regions of Xinjiang, an area of nearly 800,000 square kilometers of alpine desert, of which 80 percent is in the Changtang area of Tibet. Currently, there are around 200,000 antelope living there.

According to reports, the Tibetan antelope of the Changtang National Nature Reserve are mainly found in three counties in Nagqu Prefecture: Amdo, Nyima and Shuanghu. Each year from late October to mid November they start mating; they give birth the following year between May and June; and take their calves back to their habitat in July.

Workers along the Qinghai-Tibet highway have already adopted temporary traffic control measures to allow the antelopeto cross safely. Forest police and Wildlife Conservation staff have been paying close attention to the antelope's migratory movements, to ensure their safety when giving birth and during migration. Also, forest public security police stations are being positioned in counties where antelope can be found, to prevent illegal poaching.

Since the 1980s, there has been a sharp decline in the antelope population, due to international demand for antelope wool products and the benefits derived from illegal trade, which led to poachers hunting and killing the antelope of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. At the time, there were only 60 to 70 thousand antelope left. Recently, in order to protect the habitats of Tibetan antelope and other rare wildlife, the nature reserve management departments at Artun Mountain in Xinjiang, Hoh Xil in Qinghai and Changtang in Tibet issued a notice prohibiting all organizations and individuals from carrying out illegal activities in the respective nature reserves.

In light of the recent antelope population recovery, the Environmental Protection Department and the Chinese Academy of Science released a joint evaluation report, "China Biodiversity Red List – Vertebrate Volume", which states that the Tibetan antelope has been moved from the list of threatened species to that of near-threatened.

Changtang Nature Reserve is located in the north of the Tibet Autonomous Region and is the world’s second mainland nature reserve, with a total area of 298,000 square kilometers.