Over the past 20 years, Tibet has seen significant progress in protecting its wildlife and environment. Most of the credit goes to both the government and a growing number of campaigners. CCTV reporter spoke to one such environmentalist in Tibet, who shared his joy and concerns about the region's ecology.
Over the past 20 years, Tibet has seen significant progress in protecting its wildlife and environment.
This is Lhasa office of the World Wildlife Fund. Staff are discussing their work plans for the next six months. They expect to have a busy schedule that includes tiger protection in the remote Motuo area and training local customs officials.
45-year-old Dawa Tsering is the director of WWF's Tibet program. He holds an MA in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve Unversity in the US. He helped found WWFs' first office in Tibet in 2001. Dawa Tsering and his colleagues are dedicated to fighting the poaching of endangered species on the Tibetan plateau, as well as other environmental conservation programs. Dawa says he's happy to see their efforts have paid off.
Dawa Tsering, Tibet Program Director of WWF China said "If we go back to 20 to 40 years, there was no nature reserve, no wildlife protection law and regulations. People can freely hunt wildlife population, which decreased dramatically. Now lots of wildlife population increasing. For example, the Tibetan antelope, in 1998’s, there were only less than 50 thousand, but now I think there are more than 100 thousand."
Dawa Tsering says an essential factor in the increased wildlife population is the government’s establishment of a number of nature reserves in Tibet over the past two decades. Today Tibet is home to more than 70 nature reserves, big and small. Their total area accounts for over 30 percent of the autonomous region.
But as animal numbers grow, new issues have emerged.
Dawa Tsering said "In Qiangtang nature reserve, the human and wildlife conflict is a new issue. Brown bears coming down to the village, destroyed villagers’ houses, furnitures, and kill livestock. We are trying to develop some conservation measures to cope with the problem One strategy is to provide bear-proof food containers and boxes to help them build strong fences round the houses…"
And like many other places on the earth, there are also the threats of climate change. What particularly concerns Dawa Tsering is that Tibet’s high altitude makes it even more vulnerable to the impact of global warming.
The Tibetan environmentalist says he's confident about the prospects of eco-protection in the region. But he believes international support and collaboration is essential, as climate change is a global issue and no place can meet the challenge alone.
Dawa Tsering says it's gratifying to see the wildlife return and thrive in less than 20 years. But with glaciers and frozen soil melting faster and grassland deteriorating as a result of climate change, Tibet's ecology is under serious threat. Dawa and his colleagues still face tough challenges ahead.