Dinosaur footprint fossils discovered in Yongjing County in the northwestern province of Gansu are significant on a global scale. The size of the fossils, their diversity and good condition all add to their scientific research value. But these valuable finds now face the triple threats of erosion, weathering and landslides.
The fossils have been left untended for too long. Some of them are covered by grass, while others are now buried by sand. Those that are left on the ground have broken into pieces.
The history of the fossils can be traced back over 100 million years, though they were only discovered in 1998. So far only a few of the fossils have been protected.
Officials at the Liujiaxia Dinosaur Geological Park say the main problem is a lack of funds. Since 2002, Yongjing County has spent more than seven million yuan, or about one million US dollars on protecting the fossils. But as one of the poorest counties in the nation, Yongjing can no longer afford the huge expense.
(CCTV April 27, 2009)