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Nature Reserves Occupy One Third of Tibet
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Tibet's environment and natural landscapes are well protected, thanks to nature reserves covering more than one-third of the autonomous region in southwest China, according to local environmentalists.

Tibet currently has 402,700 square km of nature reserves, accounting for one-third of the region's territory, according to Doctor Zhang Yongze, deputy director of the Tibet Regional Environmental Protection Bureau.

Zhang said the reserves were protecting the environment well, including the habitats of rare and endangered species, lakes and wetlands important for migratory birds, and other landforms.

Famous Tibetan reserves under state-level protection include the Yarlungzangbo River Valley Nature Reserve, Lhalu Wetland in suburban Lhasa, the Mt. Qomolangma Nature Reserve, a golden monkey nature reserve in Markam County and a nature reserve in northern Tibet.

Tibet is often hailed as China's "botanical museum" as it has ample varieties of rare and endangered species like Tibetan antelopes, wild yaks, golden monkeys and black-necked cranes -- mostly under top state protection.

Setting up reserves has enabled Tibet to better protect the region's biodiversity, says Liu Wulin, a wildlife expert in Tibet.

The populations of rare species like Tibetan antelopes, golden monkeys and black-necked cranes were on the rise in the region while species like the Bangladeshi tiger which had not been seen for years, had also returned to Tibet's natural forests, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2003)

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