--- SEARCH ---
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies

Tibetan Antelopes May Have "Scapegoats"

Chinese stock breeding experts are hoping to breed a substitute for Tibetan antelopes to satisfy the demand for the fine wool of the endangered animal.


Experts with the agriculture academy of the Tibet Autonomous Region have worked for some 10 years on selective breeding of white fur goats, a rare breed of goat in Rutog county of Ngari Prefecture, one of the major habitats of Tibetan antelopes, said Lu Riqing, secretary of the county's Communist Party committee who is also in charge of the experimental program.


While Tibetan antelopes supposedly boast the finest wool of any wild animal, the Rutog white goats, also known as Kashmir white goats, have the finest and purest wool of domestic goats.


The wool of Tibetan antelopes is commonly between 7 and 9 microns in fineness, while Rutog white goat wool, a stock breed under state protection, is between 9 and 13 microns.


As the two animals on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, dubbed the "roof of the world", both live in extremely cold areas above 4,500 meters and have similar feeding habits, it is natural that they both have fine wool, Zhao Haoxin, an expert with the regional agriculture academy, said.


A shawl made from wool of Tibetan antelopes, which is called Shahtoosh, admired by European nobles and rich people from ancient times, is said to be able to pass through a finger ring.


The lure of high prices, at hundreds of thousands of US dollars, triggered rampant poaching of Tibetan antelopes, which once put the rare animal under the threat of extinction.


The numbers of the rare animal have been rising in recent years thanks to the efforts of governments at all levels in cracking down on the poaching and establishing nature preserves on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Lu said.


At the same time, Lu said, stock breeding experts also hope to find a substitute for Tibetan antelopes as another effort to stop poaching.


Environmentalists said the development of the Rutog white goat industry and the substitution plan can help save more Tibetan antelopes from poaching.


Using wool of the improved breed of the white goats, Rutog county and a woolen product business in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Ordos Cashmere Product Co., Ltd., have developed new cashmere sweaters, which are 50 percent lighter and warmer than other products of the same thickness, Lu said.


If possible, Lu said, a DNA test will be conducted to check if the white goats and Tibetan antelopes are genetically connected and stock breeding experts might conduct hybridization experiments between the two animals.


Yexe Doje, an expert with the stock breeding institute of the autonomous region, said it is possible that a substitute for Tibetan antelopes may be found through hybridization.


The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Science and Technology have set the hybridization experiment as a key research program, said Yexe Doje.


(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2003)


Rare Antelope on Big Screen
Migratory Tibetan Antelopes Protected
American Biologist Praises Tibetan Wildlife Conservation
Antelopes Find A Safe Haven at World's Roof
Wool of 3,000 Poached Tibetan Antelopes Seized
Antelopes Slaughtered for Illicit Wool Trade
Human Activities Have 'Little Impact' on Antelope Habitats
China Takes Scientific Steps to Protect Rare Antelopes
High-tech Comes to Aid of Tibetan Antelopes
Western Provinces Join Hands to Protect Antelopes
Tibetan Antelopes Still Threatened
Railway Construction Makes Way for Rare Antelope
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-68326688