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Drivers punished for chasing protected Tibetan antelopes

(People's Daily Online)    15:34, October 09, 2017

Tibetan authorities on Sunday meted out administrative penalties to seven drivers after they chased and took pictures of a herd of Tibetan antelopes, the region’s featured protect animals.

Tibet’s police bureau said on Sina Weibo on Oct.8 that the seven drivers, who drove two cars the day before in Naggu Prefecture, chased a herd of Tibetan antelopes for over a minute to try to take pictures of the protected animals. They were fined 105,000 RMB (about $15,800) in total for their wrongdoings, local authorities confirmed.

In addition, local authorities in charge of the conservation zone have also been punished for ineffective management and breach of duty.

“After being chased for a short distance the antelopes will gallop at top speed, which can lead to cardiopulmonary arrest or even death. Cars driving in the conservation zone can also damage the turf, destroying their natural habitat,” Zahi Dorji, director of the protection department of the Tibetan Forestry Bureau, told China Central Television.

Local and forestry police have conducted a two-day survey in the 300-square-kilometer conservation zone since Oct.6, noting that the antelopes did not suffer any injuries or death.

The incident has led to a heated debate online. The hashtag “CarsChaseAntelopes” on Sina Weibo has garnered over 6.7 million views as of press time, with most netizens criticizing the drivers.

“Chinese authorities should raise public awareness of animal and environment protection. Similar incidents have happened countless times in China, and such horrific behavior should be dealt with seriously,” wrote a netizen.

Tibetan antelopes have become endangered due to poaching. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, fewer than 75,000 remain in the wild.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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