LHASA, July 18 (Xinhua) — Tsultrim Tharchin works as an animal protector in a national reserve in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. He is not only an animal lover but an expert on Tibetan antelope.
“This is the season when Tibetan antelope give birth, and I usually start my day early to patrol around the reserve, observe the once-endangered species, and see if they need any assistance,” said Tsultrim Tharchin.
The Serling Tso Lake National Nature Reserve in Xainza County now employs 42 animal-protecting workers, including Tsultrim Tharchin, each receiving a monthly payment of 3,000 yuan (about 464 U.S. dollars).
According to official data, Tibet has provided 700,000 jobs for local farmers to jointly protect the regional ecological environment, creating a total income of 4 billion yuan for them since 2016.
Tibet continues to be one of the best places globally regarding the environment, maintaining a stable environmental quality in 2020, a report by the region’s ecology and environment department said.
By the end of 2020, Tibet had built 47 nature reserves measuring 412,200 square km, which accounts for more than one-third of the region’s total, noted the report.
The improved environment has further benefited the local economy. Last year, the number of visits to Tibet reached over 35 million. A growing number of households in the region have profited from the flourishing tourism industry and seen an increase of annual per capita income of over 10,000 yuan.
Local authorities also encourage public efforts to improve ecological environment protection, employing local farmers to work as forest rangers, forest park guardians, grassland supervisors, and township environmental supervisors.
Phu Tsering has worked for years to safeguard the forests and mountains in Tsashol Township, Maizhokunggar County, Lhasa City.
Over a decade ago, local farmers still relied on firewood to cook meals and keep warm during winters, so they used to climb the mountains to cut trees. Wild animals, such as black-necked cranes and red deers, were sometimes hunted by poachers, said the forest watchman.
Due to the massive size of the reserve, Phu Tsering usually patrols for dozens of hours each day to dissuade those who intend to cut trees. He also routinely gives lessons on the significance of protecting the environment in villages around the reserve.
“Protecting the nature reserve is safeguarding our own living environment,” said Phu Tsering, adding that his years of hard work are worthwhile as long as it pays off.
Nowadays, protecting the ecological environment is widely recognized in Tibet among local people. More herders have become guardians in the plateau and benefited from the job.