Wildlife Population Of Northern Tibet Is Still On The Rise
2019-08-05
Located in the northern area of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Nagqu Prefecture is the home of thousands of Tibetan wild animals, many of which have faced extinction over the past 50 years. Thanks to the increasing efforts of conservation, the strengthening of the wetlands and prairies protection, and the inclusion of three whole counties of Nagqu into the Qiangtang National Nature Reserve, these amazing wild creatures have seen a huge rise in their populations over recent years.
 
Yaks, Asses, and Antelopes - the endangered species of the Tibetan plateau
Yaks, Asses, and Antelopes - the endangered species of the Tibetan plateau
 
According to the latest data from the Nagqu Bureau of Forestry, the wildlife population inside the wetland area of the reserve has increased dramatically in the last few years. With over 150,000 wild Tibetan antelopes, 10,000 wild yaks, and more than 80,000 wild kiang, this area of northern Tibet has become one of the best places on the plateau to see these beautiful creatures.

 The vast Changtang Grasslands in northern Tibet’s Nagqu Prefecture
The vast Changtang Grasslands in northern Tibet’s Nagqu Prefecture
 
To date, Nagqu Prefecture in northern Tibet has created two wetland areas that have come under international importance in the general global environment, six national parks for natural wetlands preservation, and has completed the building of the amazing Mitika National Nature Reserve. And even the pilot project of the Serling Tso Nature Park, which covers the area around the lake, has been granted state-level preservation status as a national nature reserve. This has all improved the natural habitats of the wild creatures that call this inhospitable landscape home, as well as increasing the biodiversity of the areas to closer to their original states.

 Rare Tibetan Antelopes on the northern plains of Tibet
Rare Tibetan Antelopes on the northern plains of Tibet
 
Tibetan Antelopes are one of the rarest forms of the antelope species in the world, and have had a Class One Protected Species status in China for almost 40 years. Hunted almost to extinction in the 1980s and 1990s by illegal poachers for their valuable skins and antlers, the population decreased to less than 50,000 around the world. Known in Tibet as the “chiru”, these beautiful creatures live only in the high and inhospitable places of the northern Tibetan plateau, and have been prized for having the finest and most expensive wool in the world, known as “Shahtoosh”.

 Wild kiang, the Tibetan wild ass, roams in herds across northern Tibet
Wild kiang, the Tibetan wild ass, roams in herds across northern Tibet
 
The kiang is a species of wild ass that is indigenous to the Tibetan plateau, and is the largest of all the wild asses found across Asia. Standing around 140cm (55 inches) at the shoulder, these large asses can be found on the vast Changtang Grasslands, which covers most of Nagqu, as well as parts of Ngari and Ladakh. Inhabiting altitudes up to more than 5,300 meters, the kiang has been cited as the source of inspiration for the fabled unicorn, by the ancient Greek physician, Ctesias, in around the 5th century BC. While the kiang does more resemble a horse than an ass from other areas of the world, they travel in herds headed by an older mare, rather than following a stallion as horses do. They also have the habit of moving in unison, which is only otherwise seen in the zebras of the African savannah.

 Tibetan wild yaks have finally increased in numbers in northern Tibet
Tibetan wild yaks have finally increased in numbers in northern Tibet
 
Wild yaks are the ancestors of the modern domestic yak, which still bears a striking resemblance to its ancient ancestor, despite some cross-breeding with modern domestic cattle. Endemic to the Tibetan plateau, these huge bovines have had a close relationship with the Tibetan people for thousands of years, and have even been domesticated to make them easier to handle for the nomadic herders that have roamed the plateau since man first inhabited it thousands of years ago. However, the domestication of the species and the invasion of the wild yak’s natural ranges on the Tibetan prairies has led to it being placed under the Class One Protected Species status in China.

 Domestic yaks invaded the natural grasslands of the wild yaks in Tibet
Domestic yaks invaded the natural grasslands of the wild yaks in Tibet
 
The wild yaks normally live at high elevations between 4,000 and 6,100 meters, and the population had declined to less than 15,000 individual animals around the world by the 1990s. Around half of those lived naturally in the Changtang Grasslands of northern Tibet.  Now, thanks to the preservation work in Nagqu, there are estimated to be more than 10,000 wild yaks roaming the grasslands, an increase of almost 50% on their original numbers in the last 20 years.
TAG: Tibetan wild ass population increase in Tibet wildlife population growth northern Tibet animals wild animals of Tibet Tibetan yak Tibetan antelope kiang

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