Tibet world's largest winter habitat for black-necked cranes

Updated: 2015-12-08 11:22


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LHASA - Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region has become the world's largest winter habitat for a critically endangered crane, thanks to enhanced conservation efforts and public awareness.

Tibet is currently temporary home to 7,000 to 8,000 black-necked cranes, around 70 percent of the world's total. "It has turned into a winter haven for this critically endangered species," said Dawa Tsering, researcher with the Tibet Autonomous Regional Academy of Social Sciences.

Fewer than 3,000 black-necked cranes came to Tibet in 1995, Dawa Tsering added.

The birds are native to the plateau regions of China, India, Bhutan and Nepal. Attracted by a warm climate and abundant food, such as barley, wheat and grassroots, thousands of them migrate to Tibet's river valleys from mid-October and spend winter there.

The black-necked crane is among more than 90 endangered species on China's top protection list, along with the giant panda and golden monkey.

Tibet now has 47 nature reserves, covering 412,200 sq km, or 34.35 percent of the region's land area. Numbers of other rare and endangered species, such as wild yaks and Tibetan wild donkeys, are also steadily growing.