Beer Company Threatens Tibetan Antelope

A Chinese brewery’s plans for promotional trips to a Tibetan nature reserve threaten to undermine past successes in protecting the plateau’s wildlife. From The Guardian:

Kekexili – also known as Hoh Xil – is one of the least populated areas on earth. It has been a national reserve since 1995, but for many years after it was the site of a murderous conflict between poachers and the Wild Yak Brigade, a patrol of vigilantes committed to protecting endangered species.

Chief among them was the chiru, or Tibetan antelope, which was almost hunted to extinction due to the demand of wealthy foreign consumers for its fine shahtoosh wool. A gritty 2004 film about their plight and the killing of the brigade’s leader prompted the government to strengthen protection. Chiru numbers have since started to recover and the animal was made a mascot for the Beijing Olympics ….

“This is China’s most precious nature reserve. There are explicit prohibitions against crossings,” said Wu Zhu, the conservationist heading the campaign against the promotion tour. “It has a ‘No Human Zone’, which as the name implies, is not supposed to be visited by anyone, yet Snow have gone ahead with their promotion even before they have permission ….”

There have been previous transgressions. The Chinese Academy of Sciences has reportedly brought businessmen to the area in the name of research, Ericcson is said to have taken in high-end clients and the Comfort Travel Agency in Shandong has offered trips for photographers.