Scientist Uses Snow Leopard Feces for Genetic Analysis

CNN, May 2006- Dr. Lisette Waits of the University of Idaho is using wild snow leopard feces to gather data for DNA analysis, in cooperation with the Snow Leopard Trust. The technology to use hair and feces for DNA sampling was developed only recently and will be very helpful with conservation efforts in the future. When the analysis is complete, her findings will provide useful information on the population dynamics of snow leopards in the wild.

Congratulations to Jiang for Being Selected as a Finalist for the Whitney Fund for Nature (WFN) Award

The Whitney Fund for Nature, a UK-based charity that gives monetary rewards for outstanding conservation efforts, presented its most recent award on 10 May, 2006. Snow Leopard Network member Zhigang Jiang was one of the finalists. We applaud his commitment to conservation. For more information on Jiang’s work, see the WFN summary below:

Dr. Zhigang Jiang – China

Ecosystem approach to conservation of the Przewalski’s Gazelle in pastoral areas around Qinghai Lake.

 
 

The grasslands of Qinghai Lake on the Tibetan Plateau are the only place in the world where Przewalski’s gazelle can be found. Less than 300 adult gazelle remain, but they must compete with more than three million domestic livestock.

The people who live here are completely dependent on herding. Over-grazing is causing desertification and barbed-wire fences now criss-cross the plateau, creating unexpected barriers. Dr. Jiang Zhigang is working with indigenous people and the government to formulate a conservation strategy for the region.

In 1997 he successfully established the lake as a National Nature Reserve free from illegal hunting. He is now working to map key corridors between the four remaining gazelle populations to protect this, the most threatened hoofed mammal in the world.

http://www.whitleyaward.org/

China Requires News Reporters to Wear Fur

New Delhi
2 May 2006

There was a small but alarming news item on the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia today.

Recently presenters at the Amdo Tso-ngo TV channel in Qinghai, China, were instructed by the head of the Chinese government’s Information Centre and United Front Department that they must wear animal skin costumes, chubas, while presenting the news. When they said that they did not have any, the presenters were told that this was a political issue and that if they did not have a skin chuba then they must buy one. They were then immediately given money by the authorities for this.

The Chinese head of the Qinghai TV channel was interviewed by Radio Free Asia on 27 April 2006. He confirmed the story and that funds had been provided by the Chinese government’s United Front Department to purchase the animal skin chubas.

The link to the Radio Free Asia programme (which is in the Amdo language) is www.rfa.org/tibetan/dazoed.

We are trying to find out more, and in particular how widespread this instruction by the authorities is regarding the purchase and wearing of skin chubas, and whether it includes endangered species such as tiger and leopard skins that are protected by Chinese law and CITES.

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Belinda Wright, Executive Director
WILDLIFE PROTECTION SOCIETY OF INDIA (WPSI)
S-25 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017, India
Tel:    (Int+ 91.11) 4163.5920 & 4163.5921
Fax:   (Int+ 91.11) 4163.5924
E-mail: wpsi@vsnl.com
Website: www.wpsi-india.org
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