China News Service, Shigatse, February 21 (Reporter Zhao Lang) Putting on binoculars and riding an electric tricycle, ranger Ouzhu started a new day of patrolling. In the village at an altitude of 4,300 meters, this old herder used patrols to draw a protective line for the black-necked cranes.

The picture shows Ouzhu preparing to go on patrol. Photo by Zhao Lang

  Ouzhu, 65, is a farmer and herdsman from Jiding Town, Sakya County, Shigatse City. In 2010, he became a ranger and has been associated with black-necked cranes for more than 10 years. His village, Gongcun, is located in the core area of ​​the Shigatse area of ​​the Black-necked Crane National Nature Reserve in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley.

The picture shows every patrol, Ouzhu recorded in the book. Photo by Zhao Lang

  This area is mainly distributed in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley between Lazi and Dazhuka, involving Lazi County, Samzupze District, Nanmulin County, Xietongmen County and Sakya County in Shigatse City, covering an area of ​​260,038 hectares. The nature reserve is the main wintering and breeding ground for black-necked cranes, red shelducks, bar-headed geese and other water birds.

  On patrol that day, he brought some highland barley supplementary feed and skillfully sprinkled it on the fields by the river, constantly watching to see if there were any black-necked cranes. He told a reporter from China News Service: "This is a place where black-necked cranes often come. You can see there are still some feathers and there are many paw prints in the ground."

The picture shows Ouzhu spreading highland barley. Photo by Zhao Lang

  Gongcun is far away from the main road. Standing in the village, you can sometimes see the black-necked cranes flying to the river to feed. Ouzhu shared with reporters many videos of black-necked cranes he captured during patrols.

The picture shows a black-necked crane leisurely foraging for food. Photo courtesy of Saga County Propaganda Department

The picture shows a black-necked crane leisurely foraging for food. Photo courtesy of Saga County Propaganda Department

  Having been a guardian for more than 10 years, Ouzhu feels as close to the black-necked crane as an old friend. At the end of October every year, he starts counting the days and looking forward to the return of the black-necked cranes. By November, the number is the largest, and in April of the following year, they will continue to fly north. In summer, black-necked cranes occasionally appear near the village.

  People living in the local area have different sentiments towards wild animals. Before black-necked cranes were listed as national protected animals, local people did not hunt black-necked cranes because of their religious beliefs and belief in the equality of all living beings. They even regarded black-necked cranes as a symbol of good luck. He cited the story of black-necked cranes in Tibet's "The Biography of King Gesar" as evidence, and believed that the greater their number, the fewer natural and man-made disasters.

  He also said: “Every household here likes to make highland barley wine, and sometimes the leftover highland barley residue from the wine is spread to black-necked cranes.”

  Ouzhu has been observing black-necked cranes for many years. He said that at night, black-necked cranes will spend the night on a small island in the middle of the river. This is their way of avoiding natural enemies.

  In the years since he became a ranger, he has deeply realized the country's emphasis on wildlife protection, such as delineating protected areas, erecting promotional signs, installing monitoring systems, etc. Caregivers like Ouzhu also receive "ecological rice", with a subsidy of 7,200 yuan per year. In his view, ecological and environmental protection awareness has now penetrated into people's lives. He believes that the patrolling behavior of the rangers itself is also a way of popularizing science.

  Ouzhu and his colleagues used their perseverance to protect the habitat of the black-necked crane and the common home of man and nature.

  According to the 2022 winter black-necked crane population survey, the number of black-necked cranes overwintering in Tibet has reached more than 11,000, accounting for about two-thirds of the total number of black-necked cranes in China. The current population continues to grow and is spread throughout Tibet. are distributed. (over)