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Wildlife Programs on Target in Tibet
As the world's largest independent conservation organization, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started to implement a biodiversity conservation program in China's Tibet Autonomous Region in 1998.

That September, it sponsored the Tibet's Biodiversity International Workshop together with the region's forestry department, foreign affair and sciences committee. The workshop allowed policy-makers, conservation practitioners, and experts to not only raise questions and issues, but also produce concrete suggestions on the conservation and development of Tibet's biodiversity.

In August 2001, WWF China Program set up its Tibet Program office in Lhasa to strengthen its conservation activities in the region.

"We decided to pay special attention to developing and strengthening management and anti-poaching capacity in Changtang and Shenzha nature reserves in the region," said Dawa Tsering, coordinator of the Tibet program.

South of the Changtang National Nature Reserve, the Shengzha Nature Reserve was established in 1993 to protect the black-necked crane and its largest summer habitat.

He said the WWF has this year spent about 670,000 yuan (US$80,920) to establish five township-level protection stations in Amdo, Nima, Geji and Rutok counties and Shuanghu Special Administrative District - all within the limits of jurisdiction of the Changtang reserve and a county-level station in Shengzha County.

"We didn't build any protection station in Gertse," he explained. "Because the region's forestry department has been building three protection stations in three townships in northern Gertse."

Station staff are equipped with jeeps and wireless transmitters.

Cooperating with the region's forestry department, the WWF Tibet Program also provides a series of training exercises on patrolling, wildlife monitoring, and the legal provisions of nature reserves and wildlife conservation to officials of local management departments and station staff.

"The training course in Gertse is the first of its kind held in a county in the region," Dawa said. "Now we plan to continue the same kind of training course in each of the other five counties in the Changtang reserve."

In February, the program sponsored experts from Peking University to provide geographic information system (GIS) training for relevant people from the region's forestry department and the Lhasa forestry bureau. They helped establish a GIS lab for the forestry department, which will collect and analyze information relevant to reserves and reserve management.

Dawa is currently raising funds to build a vegetable greenhouse and a mobile clinic in Shuanghu. "As a special district, most parts of Shuanghu is within the core zone of the Changtang reserve," he said. "We expect these facilities can improve the life of local nomads, raise their conservation awareness and benefit wildlife."

(China Daily November 6, 2002)

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