Ge Yuxiu, a well-known environmental activist, wants China to
set up a special park devoted to the protection of China's only
The procapra przewalskii, named after the Russian naturalist
Przewalskii, is an attractive highland antelope which lives around
Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake in the
northwestern province of Qinghai.
It is reported that less than 300 antelopes now live in the
wild, fewer than the Giant Panda whose numbers -- due to protection
and artificial breeding -- hover around the 2000 mark.
The authorities have begun breeding the antelopes in the Bird
Island Conservation Area in Qinghai Lake, said Ge.
However, a lack of resources means that the breeding and
protection work does not cover the antelope's major habitat areas.
A special conservation area needs to be urgently set up, said
"This antelope might disappear from the earth before we
understand its zoology, evolution and genetic characteristics,"
said Jiang Zhigang, a professor with the Institute of Zoology of
the Chinese Academy of Science.
The antelopes used to roam all over northwest China's Gansu and
Qinghai provinces, Ningxia, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia autonomous
regions. But today, because of the expansion of grazing areas and
the increasing number of livestock, they are only found around
In 1996, the antelope was classified as Critically Endangered on
the World Conservation Union List of Threatened Species.
Ge Yuxiu, whose day job is in a banking regulatory bureau, won
the title "King of Birds" for his twenty years' work photographing
birds on Bird Island in Qinghai Lake. He has now shifted his
attention to the protection of the endemic antelope.
(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2007)