China's largest salt lake reports increased endangered gazelles


An aerial view of Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake in the northwestern province of Qinghai, July 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

XINING -- The national nature reserve of Qinghai Lake, China's largest inland saltwater lake in northwest Qinghai province, has seen an increased population of Przewalski's gazelles (Procapra przewalskii), the reserve's administration said.

The number of Przewalski's gazelles near Qinghai Lake currently exceeds 2,700, up from over 300 in 1994, data from the administration showed.

"To better protect the Przewalski's gazelles, the nature reserve's administration set up a protection station in 2004, stepping up efforts to rescue and breed the species," said Wu Yonglin with the station.

The Przewalski's gazelle used to be found across northern and western parts of China, including Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Gansu and Qinghai provinces, as well as Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

However, the animal is now only seen near Qinghai Lake. The species was listed as "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species and is under first-class national protection.

From July 10 to Aug 5 this year, 15 Przewalski's gazelles were born in the protection station.

"With strengthened conservation efforts, the number of Przewalski's gazelles near the lake has increased and a good gene pool for the species has been preserved and established," said Wu.

Dubbed the "most beautiful lake in China," Qinghai Lake plays an important role in the ecological preservation of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.