Eighty percent of wild yaks in northwest China's Qinghai Province are living in state nature reserves to receive effective protection, according to the local wildlife protection department.
Most of wild yaks in the province inhabited the prefectures ofYushu, Golog and Haixi, which were covered by the Hoh Xil state nature reserves and the newly-created Sanjiangyuan (headstream of three rivers) state nature reserves, according to He Yubang, director of the provincial Wildlife and Nature Reserve Management Bureau.
But he noted that because of human activity, less than 10,000 wild yaks were now found in the province, half the number of the early 1960s. The animal was listed under the first level state protection.
He said quite a number of places in Qinghai were named after the wild yak in the past because herds of the leaping animal once appeared there. These days, however, only in Wild Yak Ravine around Golmud city, in northwestern Qinghai, could local people sometimes spot wild yaks in large numbers.
"The past wonderful sight of hundreds of wild yaks galloping together doesn't exist anymore," said He. "Now only a dozen can occasionally be found haunting very remote areas."
He noted that with the deteriorating environment and overgrazing of grassland, the previous habitat of wild yaks shrankin recent decades. The poaching of the yak for its head which is considered a precious adornment, or for the meat as food also caused the rapid decrease in yak numbers.
(People's Daily April 28, 2003)