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15:04 Dec 31 2009

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Memorize anti-poaching hero: Soinam Targyai
09:10, December 28, 2009  

On Jan. 18, 1994, Tibetan official Soinam Targyai, 40, died while fighting against poachers of Tibetan antelopes, an endangered species on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in Hoh Xil, northwestern China's Qinghai Province.


Photo shows Soinam Targyai in Hoh Xil, the home to many rare animals such as Tibetan antelopes and wild Tibetan yaks. (Photo Source: Chinese Youths Daily)


His death has evoked a strong repercussion in the public. Many youths have followed his example in environmental protection; the Tibetan antelope and its inhabitation of Hoh Xil have been in the spotlight of the world as well and been given priority protection by the government.

Backgrounder:


Animal protection authorities in northwest China's Qinghai Province destroyed 2,282 Tibetan antelope hides confiscated from poachers on Oct. 22, 2009, to show resolution against slaughtering of the rare species. (Xinhua Photo)


According to Zoologist George Beals Schaller, the population of Tibetan antelopes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau plummeted to 70,000 in the mid-1990s from one million in the early 20th century. This tragedy was attributed mainly to the bloody trade in "shahtoosh," which means the king of pashm. Considered as the world's finest of its kind, the wool of such animals was made into splendid shawls symbolizing rareness and luxury in the upper class.

At that time, a rampant illegal gold rush prevailed in Hoh Xil in summer. Some gold seekers also engaged in hunting in winter instead, resulting in serious poaching of the precious animals and smuggling of their furs.

Poachers chased after Tibetan antelopes with jeeps, rounded them up at night and made their vision overcome by intensive light. Piles of slaughtered antelopes were deserted everywhere. Some were left skeletons only and others were badly mangled with their skins peeled off.

Source: Xinhuanet

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