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Species Saved in Qomolangma Reserve
The Mt. Qomolangma Nature Reserve in the Tibet Autonomous Region of Southwest China has become a wildlife paradise thanks to the protection efforts of the local government and people.

Established in 1988, the State-level nature reserve is now home to 2,348 higher plants, 53 mammal species, 206 kinds of birds, eight amphibian species, six reptile species and 10 breeds of fish. Among these are 10 plant and 33 animal species under the top level of State protection.

Covering 33,000 square kilometers and at an altitude of more than 4,800 meters, the Mt. Qomolangma Nature Reserve is the largest and highest in the world.

The reserve covers the four counties of Tingri, Tingjie, Nyalam and Gyirong with a total population of 86,000, of whom more than 95 percent are Tibetans.

It is also one of the cleanest in the world, said Yan Yinliang, director of the nature reserve administration.

As part of measures to protect the environment within the reserve, all vehicles and mountaineers entering the area are checked carefully.

Protection efforts are producing encouraging results, Yan said. The number of wild animals has been increasing, once-damaged vegetation recovering, and the reserve's environment and sites of historical interest and cultural heritage have been well protected.

Yan's administration has cooperated with international non-governmental organizations in protecting natural resources, developing ecology-friendly tourism and improving farming and animal husbandry facilities. They also cooperated on energy resources and transport, handicraft and tourist gift development, medical treatment and sanitation, family planning, education and personnel training.

The cooperative programs have not only helped local people find ways to make money, but also effectively protected the environment and natural resources since tree-cutting and poaching of wild animals have been drastically reduced.

Villagers from Songduo Village at the foot of Qomolangma have marked out an area of cropland for feeding the increasing number of quails and other birds which used to seriously damage their crops. The villagers said they know the birds are protected.

Karl Taylor, a public health expert who has worked in more than 60 developing countries, said farmers and herdsmen played a leading role in carrying out the environmental protection project in the Qomolangma area.

(China Daily October 8, 2002)

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