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News From "Roof of The World": Rare Tigers Discovered in Tibet

At least 20 wild tigers are reported to be living on Tibet's snow-capped Himalayas, 4,000 meters above the sea level.

Experts from Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said in Lhasa that the animals are a group of the tiger family living on the highest place in the world.

They confirmed that the tigers are the Bangladesh species, adding that Tibet regional government is carrying out a program to protect the endangered animal.

The Bangladesh Tiger mainly roam in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and south China. In China, the Bangladesh Tiger is even rarer than the Siberian Tiger.

Since the 1990s, Tibet regional forestry departments have taken many photos of the tiger and even collected tiger skins and bones in field research.

Liu Wulin, who had participated in the research, said that wild Bangladesh Tigers live only in the southern slope of the Himalayas.

Many residents in the regions and counties of Tsayul, Methok, Lottsa, Chona, Milin, Menyul and Luoyul say they have witnessed the tigers.

Scientists confirmed that there are eight to 12 of such tigers in Methok, the only county in China that has no highway access. About seven have become permanent residents of the county.

In the entire Tibet Autonomous Region, there are about 20 tigers.

Scientists and residents have for several times found wounded tigers, and even witnessed tigers eating cattle.

Gesang, a researcher, said that he saw a tiger bite three yaks to death. "It chewed two big yaks, and dragged the small one away," he said.

Wang Wei, an official with the State Forestry Administration, said in an telephone interview that large animal's activities are usually restrained due to rugged mountains. In addition, the tiger is a lonely animal never fond of social life, therefore their number is small.

"That is why only 20 tigers have been reported since the 1950s," he said.

He added that the country is mapping out a massive protection program to protect the tigers on the roof of the world. Methok County is to ban hunting, and it encourages its residents to drive the tigers to high mountains, where they can eat state-supplying food.

According to Wang, the county will spend 5 million yuan (US$604,600) to build hoggeries so to feed the tigers, who have previously eaten many yaks, which are more useful for farmers.

Tibet covers a space that is one eight of China's territory, and it is a bio-museum. There are 6,400 valuable plants, and 125 animals that are put under state protection.

Currently, some 38 million hectares of Tibet land, or one third of Tibet's territory, are natural reserves.

(Xinhua News Agency09/28/2001)

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