Roaming gazelles a bane to herdsmen

  • ASEAN+
  • Saturday, 18 Jan 2003

THIS is the story of 30,000 roaming Mongolian gazelles that have forgotten their homes. 

The gazelles are from the People’s Republic of Mongolia and they are not aware of a border that keeps them from searching for food in Erenhot City of north China’s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.  

As the border has not been completely blocked, animals on the grasslands can freely cross the border.  

According to local official Batubate, the gazelles spotted along the path leading to Erenhot came from Mongolia.  

“They crossed the border and entered China’s Xilin Gol grassland two or three years ago,” he said. “They are spirits without nationality.”  

It was believed that a harsh drought in Mongolia forced the gazelles to move from one hill to another and from one grassland to another, looking for food and water for survival. “They crossed over to our side two years ago,” said Batubate. 

“They didn’t seem to want to go back. Over 30,000 Mongolian gazelles didn't go back home 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 protecting these animals.  

As a result, some of the herdsmen's livestock died and so they moved away. Some people dug wells at the foot of the hills for the gazelles as well as the herdsmen.  

In certain areas, 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 was gasping with its tongue hanging. ”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 the gazelles.”– People’s Daily. 

  • Another perspective from The China Daily, a partner of Asia News Network. 

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