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More than 1,000 Tibetan gazelles dead in Sichuan
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More than 1,000 Tibetan gazelles have perished in the extreme cold during the mid-January to early March period, an official in China's southwest Sichuan Province said on Friday.

Liu Ze, deputy head of the Shiqu County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, said the heavy snow that had hit his county on nine occasions, killed 1,028 Tibetan gazelles and left nearly 2,000 humans with frostbite.

He explained the extremely low temperatures and an inadequate grass supply had caused the deaths.

Tibetan gazelles tend to search for food in mornings and evenings. Over the past 50 days, most grasslands have been covered by thick snow and ice.

"Our top priority is to protect people and livestock after the heavy snow," said Liu. He expressed his concern more gazelles could suffer a similar fate if more snow comes.

The local weather station forecasted that an imminent snowfall would arrive in the county before Monday

(Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2008)

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