Chinese tourists fined US$15,750 for chasing endangered Tibetan antelopes to take photos
Group drove after the endangered animals for over a minute in two off-road vehicles, forestry authority says
A group of Chinese tourists have been fined US$15,750 for chasing endangered Tibetan antelopes with off-road vehicles during the week-long National Day break last week.
The seven tourists were travelling in Tibet when they entered a restricted area inside a nature reserve on Wednesday to take photos of the antelopes, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
In photos taken by a witness, a herd of antelopes is seen running across the arid plain while two white four-wheel drives pursue them.
The group chased the animals in the two vehicles for more than a minute in order to take photos of them, the Tibetan forestry authority said in a statement on Sunday.
The seven tourists have been fined 15,000 yuan (US$2,250) each, while the officials responsible for managing the nature reserve would also be held accountable, the statement said.
Demand for the underwool of Tibetan antelope has pushed the species to the brink of extinction, although their numbers have slightly recovered thanks to a crackdown on illegal hunting.
Being chased by cars could be lethal for antelopes, a Tibetan forestry official told the broadcaster.
“Scared antelopes tend to run at their top speed,” the official was quoted as saying. “They will have a strong stress reaction, and their cardiovascular functions could be exhausted as they try to flee.”
The authorities searched a 300 sq km area of the nature reserve after the car chase but no antelopes were found to be injured or dead, according to the report.