Tibetan antelope sanctuary applies for world heritage status

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Beijing, Feb 19 (IANS) China’s remote western Hol Xil nature reserve, home to 70,000 Tibetan antelope, has applied for Unesco world natural heritage status, its administration said on Friday.

The reserve, covering 60,000 square km in China’s Qinghai province at an altitude of over 4,500 metres, will be the only site in China to apply for listing in 2017, Xinhua quoted Tsering Samdrup, head of the reserve administration’s publicity department, as saying.

The Unesco committee will inspect the reserve in September with findings expected to be released in the summer of 2017 at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee, he said.

Endangered Tibetan antelopes, wild yaks and wild ass inhabit Hol Xil, home to 7,000 lakes.

“If the application is successful, it will improve Hol Xil’s reputation and enhance its capacity in wildlife protection,” Tsering Samdrup said.

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As an important gene pool, Hol Xil welcomes scientists to research the living habits and migration routes of the animals, he said.

China currently has 10 world natural heritage sites.

Unesco has acknowledged 1,031 World Heritage properties across the globe, 802 cultural sites, 197 natural sites and 32 mixed sites.

China now has 48 such sites, just below Italy, according to the Unesco official website.

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