Car marathon to raise funds for sanctuary

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 April, 2000, 12:00am

The driving force behind the establishment of the Lop Nor Nature Sanctuary in what used to be China's nuclear testing zone, John Hare, hopes to win funds and attention for his cause by participating in the London to Beijing Marathon.

A British explorer and naturalist, Mr Hare founded the Wild Camel Protection Foundation in 1995 after making several trips into the habitat of the wild Bactrian camel to observe the animal and track its migration patterns.

The foundation aims to establish a sanctuary for the camels. This was partly achieved with the co-operation of the Chinese State Environmental Protection Agency in March last year when 150,000 square km was set aside in central Xinjiang for the Lop Nor Sanctuary.

It is estimated that no more than 650 camels remain in Xinjiang, with perhaps a few hundred more in Mongolia.

Foundations and corporations have already given US$200,000 (HK$1.56 million) to the foundation, and the environmental protection agency has promised up to 2.5 million yuan (HK$2.35 million).

Mr Hare and his two partners, Peter Batey and Adam Williams, will drive one of 100 classic cars participating in the London to Beijing Marathon, which will leave London's Tower Bridge on May 1.