Locals strive to protect swan lake area

08:51, July 15, 2010      

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Swans playing on Swan Lake [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]


Situated in Xinjiang's Bayingol Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, Bayanbulak Grassland is a great prairie boasting luxuriant verdant grass. The Swan Lake is a blue diamond embedded in the endless green of the Bayanbulak Grassland. Every year, flocks of swans return from the south to live and breed there, thanks to the local awareness of the need to protect this land.

The Bayanbulak Grassland, deep in the East Tianshan Mountains, covers an area of more than 23,000 square kilometers. When summer comes, a variety of wild flowers are in bloom, and herds of sheep leisurely wander over the grasslands, constituting a beautiful picture.

Elder residents there didn't remember when the first swan came to this area. The number of swans inhabiting the grassland has continued to rise in recent years, reaching 30,000 at most, said Liu Wenwen, a local official who's in charge of the region's ecological protection.

"Every April swans will migrant to the Bayanbulak Grassland and multiply and live here. In September these swans will move to the south or the Indian Ocean where the climate is warm."

History proves that nature needs care and protection. It happened in the past when the ecology of some natural regions was greatly altered and almost all animal habitats disappeared. The local government of the Bayanbulak area had recognized the area must be protected before it was destroyed. So in 1986, a national reserve was set up to better protect the swans. For years, great efforts have been made, as Liu Wenwen said, thanks to measures taken by the local government.

"We have made long-term plans for the development of Bayanbulak area, especially the Swan Lake. For example, we regulated the vehicle route towards the Swan Lake viewing platform. No yachts are allowed on the lake and no modern facilities are built around it. We try to keep a non-pollution environment for the swans."

Liu Wenwen said local Mongolian residents also help protect the swans whole-heartedly and treat them as their best friends.

"They attach great importance to swans as they think swans represent pure love and unity. Their affection to swans can be traced back long time ago. When they herd sheep, they never go to the centre of Swan Lake area, for fear of disturbing the swans."

Now about 20,000 residents live on the grassland. 47-year-old Dugeerjiafu is one of them. He grew up here. Every day, he herds his sheep and horses on the grassland. Life is not so convenient here, but he has gotten used to that. Accompanied by the swans, he lives a contented life.

"Swans are lovely animals and we all like them very much. When they fly away, we know winter comes; when they come back, we know spring comes. We're happy to see them, which represent the new start of a year."

Dugeerjiafu said that in the past, some outsiders came to the grassland and captured and killed the swans. Local residents felt deeply grieved by that and tried to protect the swans. To their delight, there are few people who mistreat the swans now.

"When visitors wanted to take swan eggs or kill the swans, we would drive them away and persuaded them to never do that again. Sometimes we gave special local food such as mushrooms to them and asked them to protect the swans. It often happened in the past, but now people have become friendly to the animal."

For people who enjoy traveling, Bayanbulak Grassland is the place that is free from over-exploitation and shouldn't be missed. But remember, never frighten the swans when you take snapshots. In this place, humans and the swans are equal.

Source: CRI online

(Editor:王千原雪)

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