The gazelles in the People's Republic of Mongolia are not aware there is a border that should keep them from searching for food in Erenhot City of north China's Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.
As the border has not yet been completely blocked, animals on the grasslands can freely roam between the two countries.
A flock of gazelles spotted along the way from Erenhot to Sonid Right Banner came from Mongolia, according to Batubate, deputy head of the banner.
"They crossed the border and entered China's Xilin Gol Grassland two or three years ago," he said. "They are spirits without nationality."
Mongolia has suffered a harsh drought, forcing the gazelles to move from one hill to another and from one grassland to another, chasing food and water for survival.
"The gazelles crossed over to our side two years ago," said Batubate. "They didn't seem to want to go back. Over 30,000 Mongolian gazelles forgot their homes last winter."
Although the livestock in the Xilin grassland also lacked food and water due to a less severe drought, Chinese Mongolian herdsmen were not allowed to hunt these gazelles, Batubate said.
Instead, the herdsmen left the grassland to the gazelles as a way of rescue and protection. As a result, some livestock died andsome herdsmen moved away.
Some people dug wells at the foot of the hills for gazelles as well as herdsmen.
In Sonid Right Banner, trucks poured water into puddles. "This area is a temporary protection zone, and the water is for the gazelles." said the workers.
Visiting a local herdsman for tea, the expected sounds of a guard dog are noticeably absent. Instead, a brown shepherd dog crouched in the corner, gasping with its tongue outside the mouth.
"It is quite thirsty and can't bark at strangers," said the host, Erdeng Baolidao. "We haven't had enough water for two days, because we leave the water for nearby gazelles."
Herdsmen have deep affection for dogs, and never eat them. What's more, they would leave food for their dogs rather than eat it themselves. A capable shepherd dog can not only help the herdsmen to pasture the livestock, but also guard their homes.
These Chinese herdsmen are making a big sacrifice to protect the Mongolian gazelles in their grasslands.