There are a total of 149,930 Tibetan antelopes in northwestern
Tibet Autonomous Region distributed throughout an area of
698,000 square kilometers around 103 towns of 18 counties, said a
report by People’s Daily on June 30. According to the
report, the number of the antelopes increased annually by 7.9
percent between 1999 and 2005.
The figures are results of an 18-year long biological and
ecological study into Tibetan Antelopes resident in Tibet which was
conducted by the Survey and Planning Institute under the Tibet
The study covered the living environment of the antelopes, their
distribution, natural enemies, feeding habits, population density,
herd structure, migration patterns, birth rates and the increase in
According to the Southwest Information Center of the Ministry of
Science and Technology, the research has been domestically
unprecedented in terms of comprehensiveness.
According to a 60,000-Chinese-characters long report on the
research, the habitat areas of Tibetan antelopes begin in Ladakh,
India in the west, and stretch 1,600 kilometers eastward to end
near Ngoring Lake in Qinghai after passing through Tibet and the
southern tip of Xinjiang. The distribution area in Tibet covers
698,000 square kilometers of which 449,700 square kilometers are
The migration of Tibetan antelopes is influenced by climate and
natural resources such as pasture and water. However, their
movements have a pattern. In cold weather they move to areas of
lower altitude and higher temperatures and do the reverse when it’s
warm. Areas with plentiful water supplies and grass and low
mountain paths were found to be frequently on the antelopes’
migration routes. In late autumn they gather on level terrain for
Liu Wulin, chief of the research and ex-director of the Survey
and Planning Institute, said that no professional appraisal of the
antelope numbers had been done before and all past research had
suggested 120,000 as a likely figure. Liu’s calculation used
theories of biological and mathematical statistics. He divided the
Tibetan antelope’s life pattern into a “dynamic season” and a
“relatively fixed season”. The result shows that the total number
of Tibetan antelopes actually in Tibet stands at 149,930. The
figure comes from the average of the animal’s numbers in dynamic
and fixed seasons which are 125,601 and 174,259 respectively.
The average annual increase in numbers of the animal from 1989
to 2005 is 6.6 percent, and 7.9 percent from 1999 to 2005.
The research began in 1987 and ended in 2005. The surveying
route ran 80,425 kilometers and covered 710,000 square kilometers.
Program researchers got firsthand information through observation
and visiting the habitats.
The Tibetan antelope is one of the world’s endangered species
and comes under China’s first-level protection. It has also been
listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) since 1979. One
of the Mascots for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games unveiled last
year embodies the Tibetan antelope. This choice reflects Beijing’s
commitment to a Green Olympics.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Tinging, July 7, 2006)