This 'Couch Potato' is trying to share his world!

I never imagined that I would stop my 'later morning' walks and turn into a couch potato. You can ask me why don't you beat the traffic and go early in the morning. I used to get up early for 40 years as a factory worker. Enough is enough.

I discovered TV5 Monde Asie and am addicted to it. This is from a series  'Terres sauvages en danger' (Endangered wild lands) which is thought provoking. Dangers to wild life is well known and this study covers China. I am trying this style of blogging to give you an idea of the larger issues which are fascinating.

At 5000 meters and 1,000,000 square Km it is the highest and largest desert on earth. 

 One would imagine not many could survive this harsh terrain. Surprisingly the Tibetan antelope which looks fragile adapted and were doing well. At one time their count was 1.5 million but has speedily dropped to a mere 70,000.
Dr. David Mallon of Manchester University is deeply involved in wild life conservation
There are many reasons for this, but it is the man-made ones which we need to worry about.
Tibetan antelopes, also called Chiru were slaughtered for making the now banned 'Shahtoosh'.
With as much as $10,000 per shawl. It is reported that it is still being made secretly

A movie  Mountain Patrol Kekexili Struggles to Save Antelopes From Poachers (and Fashionistas): "The mountains that rise from the Tibetan plateau make a suitably dramatic backdrop for this story about the murderous cost we humans exact on the natural world. Based on depressingly true events, "Mountain Patrol: Kekexili" tracks the heroic efforts of a small group of Tibetans struggling to keep the Tibetan antelope, or chiru, from extinction. Although hunting the antelope was made illegal in the 1970's -- you need to kill the animal to harvest its wool, which is turned into a rare commodity called shahtoosh -- the population dwindled precariously, beginning in the late 1980's and early 90's, because enough wealthy consumers had no qualms about hitting the boldface scene with shahtoosh on their shoulders and blood on their hands."

The greed or need and the insensitivity of the wealthy caused this slaughter. The Chinese government took stern action to stop this as a result of public outcry. Their action would have reduced poaching somewhat.

There was one more possibility which Prof Uchino of Japan undertook to study. He has been following the effect of the railway line built across this territory for many years. The timid Chiru could not deal with the railway line which went across their migratory route.
The professor chose to study the impact of the railways on Chiru
 Rohini lives in Shanghai! Tempting to think of a journey on this train!

The  antelopes  were too timid to cross and died at the track

Then Chinese government  provided 'fauna passages' at 15 locations
The roads were also a challenge. The Chiru were too scared to cross the road. Volunteers arrived to stop the traffic and allow the antelopes to cross. It took a while for the chirus to get used to humans 

The antelopes are now used to the trains and are not anxious anymore
It took a few years before the antelope learnt to deal with the barriers and running trains. In the process thousands of them died.

Each barrier which looked different was a challenge.

The efforts by the Chinese government and the people who volunteered helped to increase the numbers of Chiru from 70,000 to around 150,000 and there is hope  the numbers will increase. There is also the risk of more poachers arriving.

The study of  Chiru life illustrates the role of instinct for survival and how nature works. The males fight hard to get the attention of the females. They stop short of killing each other. The females who allow the victorious males to mate migrate right across the land to deliver their babies. It is an arduous journey with many perils. They have many combined strategies to avoid the predators. Once they reach the place of birthing, at a chosen time 15 or so females give birth at almost the same time.
The mother and the baby recognize each other by their scents. As the mother can take care of only one baby, she ignores other babies.

 The Chirus had a sizeable population before humans encroached their territory. It is hoped the antelopes will manage to survive as there is more awareness and control

The Predators. Amazing that they have managed to adapt to the harsh terrain.

 The story of orphaned babies. There is a endearing scene where a baby is able to reach its mother after a long chase. If not the baby would have died .
The orphaned have hope

The  antelopes have coped with nature and its vagaries, the predators and the weather and show they are a sturdy lot. The scientists have been studying the antelopes to understand and help them survive in a harsh and hostile world


You should get into making documentaries.....Varad

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