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UPDATED: July 8, 2013
Over 30,000 Tibetan Antelopes Give Birth in Hoh Xil

About 35,000 pregnant Tibetan antelopes have given birth or are expecting on the Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

Marching across grasslands and mountains, the pregnant antelopes finished a long journey from their habitats in northwest China's Qinghai Province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Ngari prefecture and Changtang area of Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China, to arrive at the bank of Zonag Lake in Hoh Xil to give birth.

Xiao Penghu, deputy chief of the reserve's management bureau, said the bureau has sent special teams out to prevent the antelopes from being poached.

Five conservation stations have been set up to monitor the antelopes' migration and ensure their safety while traveling across the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Qinghai-Tibet Highway, Xiao said.

Songamge, a ranger at the reserve, said they have asked passing vehicles to slow down so that the antelopes can cross the highway smoothly.

When pregnant antelopes come over in large groups, rangers close some sections of the road temporarily to make way for the antelopes, Songamge added.

Over 60 percent of the 35,000 antelopes have already given birth, said Zhao Xinlu, director of Zonag Lake's conservation station.

The number of Tibetan antelopes in or near the reserve has increased from about 20,000 in 1998, when the reserve was established, to 60,000 at present, according to Xiao.

The antelopes have been targeted by poachers since the 1980s. Armed poaching led to a sharp decline in the antelope population in the 1990s.

In 2010, several national-level nature reserves that also act as antelope habitats agreed to make joint efforts to protect the animals.

(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2013)

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