Rare Animals Emerge After 20 Years of Reforestation in NW China

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37 species under national protection have been observed in the Ziwuling area, thanks to massive reforestation efforts.

A few months ago I wrote about how China is planting 16.3 million acres of forest this year alone, with plans to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade.

And you know what happens when you coax a forest back into being? Creatures great and small find a place to call home ... and begin to thrive again.

If anyone was looking for proof of this simple equation, they may need look no further than the Ziwuling Forest Area in Yan'an, Shannxi province. After two decades of "massive reforestation projects" in the area, the payoff is becoming evident.

Researchers from Beijing Normal University have been using infrared cameras to check in on Ziwuling's wildlife, and they have photographed all kinds of rare species. From golden pheasants and red foxes to roe deer, the menagerie of threatened animals adds to an earlier discovery of the largest-ever population of North-Chinese leopards in the area.

"The nature reserve has a large population of wild boars and roe deer, as well as small and medium-sized carnivorous animals such as ocelots and red foxes. If it was not for environmental protection we've undertaken, it's likely none of these animals would have survived," said Feng Limin Feng, associate professor from Beijing Normal University.

The researchers say that so far they have catalogued a whopping 263 different species in Ziwuling, including eight endangered species under critically endangered first-class national protection, and another 29 under second-class national protection.

It's really not rocket science. Animals the world over are being threatened with extinction because of habitat destruction. Stop that destruction, put some effort in refurbishing the natural landscape, and give the animals a fighting chance at survival. And if we're all lucky, they may even thrive.

via China Plus