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American Biologist Praises Tibetan Wildlife Conservation (07/11/03)

Dawa Cering, an official working on the Tibetan Program of the World Wildlife Funds (WWF), recently received a letter from Dr. George Schaller, an American zoologist. Dr. George Schaller conducted a field survey in the Changtang Nature Reserve, Tibet, in April this year. After comparing the new results with that from the previous survey he made 10 years ago, Dr. Schaller wrote this letter, in which he declared that “population of Tibetan wildlife is rebounding.”

Website of the New York based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) also gave coverage to the news recently: “According to Schaller's surveys, populations of Tibetan antelopes, or chiru, have risen from an estimated 3,900 in 1991 to 5,890, while wild asses, or kiang, had jumped from 1,224 to 2,241. Tibetan gazelles grew from 352 to 487, and numbers of wild yak jumped from 13 to an estimated 187 plus.”

“Dr. Schaller is an authentic expert in the field of international wildlife protection, and he is also renowned for his fastidious characteristic,” Dawa Cering said.

Schaller conducted a one-month survey around the Changtang Nature Reserve. In his report on the survey, Dr. Schaller also made an evaluation on the work of the Tibet Forestry Department, “The Tibet Forestry Department has obviously made a dedicated and successful effort in protecting the wildlife.”

The wildlife protection of the Tibet Autonomous Region has greatly improved during the past decade, according to Dr. Schaller. Patrols and searches for poachers have been strengthened, guns have been confiscated, and education has been intensified to raise people’s consciousness on wildlife laws… as he said in his report.

However, Dawa Cering said, with the growth of both populations -- wild animals and human beings -- conflicts between the two are increasing. For example, once in Ngari of Tibet, a vast stretch of grazing land was eaten up and destroyed within a few days by a flock of 1,000 wild asses, while the cows and sheep herded by local herdsmen could only stand by and watch the “offenders.” Another example takes place in eastern Tibet’s Medog County, where Bengal tigers frequently attack domestic livestock. This leads to the fact that local residents “raise pigs for feeding the tigers.”

Referring to the above mentioned conflicts between human beings and wild animals, Dr. Schaller suggests that the Tibet Forestry Department take better care of the wildlife to reduce such conflicts. Schaller also hopes that the US Wildlife Conservation Society, who is rich in experience and specific measures for wildlife protection, will work more closely with the Tibet Forestry Department so as to find solutions for the problem.


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