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High-tech Comes to Aid of Tibetan Antelopes
The Tibetan antelope, the beautiful and delicate celebrities of Hoh Xil, in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, whose very existence is in the balance, are to benefit from some high-tech donations.

In recent years hunters, keen to cash in on the lucrative shahtoosh trade, have slaughtered the creatures to the point of extinction. Responding to the demand by rich countries for the delicate fleece -- it takes 22 animals to make one shawl -- poor people have joined the kill.

The antelope cannot be sheared for shahtoosh because the delicate material comes from its under-fleece and so it is killed, skinned and its body left for scavengers.

The latest donation to those in the frontline fight to protect the endangered creatures included a DVB/IP broadband satellite communications set, a patrol jeep and two notebook computers. They will be a welcomed resource in the struggle to preserve "the last primitive region and largest uninhabited area" of Hoh Xil. The high-tech equipment was donated by Ericsson, UT Starcom, Asiainfor.com, Sinotrust and Sharp (China) Cooperation.

The materials will provide a lifeline for those operating in Hoh Xil, which lies in a remote area. It has been designated a "restricted zone to human beings" and the only contact with the outside world for those working in the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Zone is by satellite communication.

The patrol jeep is responsible not only for observing and recording valuable details of the antelopes' lifestyle and habits, but also for scouting the vast area on the lookout for poachers.

The Hoh Xil Nature Reserve Administrative Bureau collects and distributes all donations. Part of its mandate as an authorized institute is to preserve the rare Tibetan antelope and other endangered species.

"I'm grateful for your generosity and I'm glad to see more and more people outside the Hoh Xil area have an even stronger awareness and desire to protect the Tibetan antelopes who are at risk of dying out," said Cai Ga, director of the nature reserve bureau, as he accepted the gift.

(China Daily November 8, 2002)

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