ENGLISH VERSION FOR TRANSLATION

Sichuan established a protection station for more than 200 wolves for the first time to protect the wolves. What about the sheep?

Photo by Shen You
Sichuan Online reporter Kou Minfang

In early June, Liu Hao, a researcher from Mianyang Normal University, came to Ruoergai to investigate and study the activities of wolves. On the vast grassland, he found a wolf that had just died. Its lower abdomen was torn, a small intestine was exposed, and the remaining blood stains were faintly visible.

According to his judgment, the wolf may have died in a fight between the same species, and it is more likely that it was attacked by a human-raised shepherd dog or Tibetan mastiff.

“Wolves are much more fragile than we thought.” Liu Hao said. In fairy tales, both “Grandma Wolf” and “Big Bad Wolf” are cannibals, but in fact, wolves have been “squeezed” by humans for a long time. , The number of habitats and populations plummeted.

On July 29, the Zoige Wolf Ecological Protection Monitoring Station (hereinafter referred to as “protection station”) was listed. This is also the first protection station built for wolves in Sichuan. What is the point of protecting wolves? Can humans and wolves live in harmony?

Is an important “controller” in the ecosystem

my country used to be one of the countries with the largest population of wolves. Take Sichuan as an example. Before the 1950s, there were traces of wolves in the mountains and surrounding basins in western Sichuan, and their populations were relatively large. Later, with economic development, the scale and scope of human livestock and poultry breeding expanded. Wolves often entered farms to hunt livestock and were regarded as evil beasts. They became the “big bad wolf” in fairy tales and were hunted and killed on a large scale. The land is also shrinking.

“The area where giant pandas live, such as the Pingwu area, used to have wolves, but now they are gone.” Liu Hao said that by the 1980s, wolves had been “driven” to western Sichuan. The population size also plummeted.

Wolves are at the top of the food chain. In nature, their food is mainly ungulates, such as wild boars, deer, etc. They will kill them all and eventually destroy the ecological balance. In order to protect ungulates, Yellowstone National Park in the United States once hunted and killed wolves. White-hipped deer and other ungulates lost their natural enemies. The population exploded, eating bark and saplings, and causing ecological damage. Later, the managers of Yellowstone Park introduced and rebuilt wolves in the park again, so that the ungulates represented by the white-hipped deer in the park were effectively controlled, the forests and grasslands were restored, and the ecosystem of the entire region was rebalanced.

In Ruoergai, herders’ views on wolves have also changed. The wolf, previously considered a “evil beast”, also played a role in protecting the grassland to a certain extent. Prairie pika, one of the food for wolves, is a big killer of Zoige grassland ecology. Plateau pikas have amazing reproductive power. When forage grass turns green, it is also the season for them to multiply. They burrow everywhere in the grassland, making sandy soil exposed, soil erosion intensified, and grassland degradation. “Wolves eat pikas, which can reduce rodent infestation to a certain extent.” said Yang Heng, head of the Wildlife Protection Unit of Zoige County Forestry and Grass Bureau.

It can be said that the wolf is a very important switch in the ecosystem, which is equivalent to a top-down “controller”.

What will the protection station do?

First carry out a monitoring survey to find out the family background

Zoige is one of the relatively concentrated areas of wolves in our province, with an existing population of about 200. The protection station is located in Sichuan Ruoergai Wetland National Nature Reserve (hereinafter referred to as “protection area”).

In the routine patrols carried out in the reserve in recent years, wolves have been spotted from time to time, and related monitoring has been carried out. Once, a herder told the ranger that the wolves would pass through his pasture every day, leaving early and returning late, as if they were going to work. Another time, the ranger saw seven wolves standing on the top of the mountain from a distance… these messages All have been recorded, providing precious basic information for the protection station.

However, there are still shortcomings in the protection of wolves. Zoige is known as the “hometown of black-necked cranes”. Since the establishment of the reserve in 1998, the main research and monitoring have focused on birds. The Zoige Wolf Ecological Protection Monitoring Station is the first beast station in the reserve. “For a long time, we have not carried out systematic and complete monitoring of beasts, including wolves, and the population information is relatively blank, and in-depth research is insufficient.” said Shi Lei, deputy director of the Sichuan Ruoergai Wetland National Nature Reserve Administration.

After the establishment of the protection station, the monitoring system will be carried out first, and basic data of wolves will be built to understand the distribution and population numbers of wolves in Ruoergai, and find out the family background. In the future, it is also expected to learn from the research methods of black-necked cranes and to further understand the life habits of wolves by installing GPS trackers and other methods.

Difficulties are also in front of the protection station. The biggest constraint is the shortcomings of talents. “There are no talents who specialize in animal research in the reserve. The previous experience is mainly on birds and cannot be fully transplanted to beasts.” Shi Lei threw an olive branch to the vast number of scientific research institutions and researchers, hoping to attract talents and wisdom to establish scientific research. The cooperative relationship strengthens the ecological protection and scientific research monitoring of wolves.

How do people and wolves live in harmony?

Restore and protect the ecology, let wolves return to nature for food

The purpose of establishing a protection station is to protect wolves. If the wolf population is expanded, will it once again pose a threat to the herdsmen’s livestock and cause conflicts between man and wolf?

Liu Hao has repeatedly tested and studied in Ruoergai, Hongyuan and other places, and found that although the contradiction between man and wolf is not as prominent as in the early years, it has always existed.

Whether it’s pasture grazing or tourism development, human activities have more or less disrupted the ecological balance, resulting in the reduction of food for wolves in nature. In order to survive, they will steal the cattle and sheep of herders; although herders will not directly hunt and kill wolves as in the past, When livestock are eaten stolen, I still hope that relevant government protection agencies will control the range and number of wolves.

“It is said that people are afraid of wolves. In fact, wolves are more afraid of people.” In other words, if there is enough food in nature, wolves are much less likely to risk eating livestock. Liu Hao suggested that after the establishment of the protection station, the number of livestock should be effectively controlled, the stocking amount of livestock should be controlled, and space should be made for other ungulate wild animals to ensure adequate food for wolves. In addition, relevant policies should be improved. If wolves eat sheep, can they consider giving farmers some compensation to alleviate the conflict between man and wolf?

“The contradiction between humans and wolves is the surface, and behind it is the contradiction between human activities and ecological protection.” Liu Hao believes that the construction of a protection station means not only an increase in work content, but also an upgrade of the protection concept-through research and protection of wolves, Promote the protection of the entire regional ecosystem and realize the harmonious development of man and nature.

All text, pictures, audio and video materials of “Sichuan Daily or Sichuan Online (channel)”, copyright “source of manuscript: Sichuan Daily or Sichuan Online”,

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沈尤 摄

四川在线记者 寇敏芳

6月初,绵阳师范学院研究员刘昊来到若尔盖,对狼的活动开展调查研究。在茫茫的草原上,他发现了一匹刚刚死亡不久的狼,它的下腹被撕破,一小截肠子暴露在体外,残存的血迹依稀可见。

根据他的判断,这匹狼可能死于同类之间的打斗,更大可能是被人类饲养的牧羊犬或者藏獒袭击而亡。

“狼,比我们想象中的脆弱得多。”刘昊说,童话故事里“狼外婆”和“大灰狼”都是吃人的,但实际上,狼经受着人类长期的“挤压”,栖息地和种群数量锐减。

7月29日,若尔盖狼生态保护监测站(以下简称“保护站”)挂牌。这也是四川首个为狼而建立的保护站。保护狼有何意义?人与狼可以和谐共生吗?

是生态系统中重要的“控制器”

我国曾是狼种群数量最大的国家之一。以四川为例,上世纪50年代前,四川西部山区、盆地周边,都有狼的踪迹,种群数量也比较大。后来,随着经济发展,人类家畜家禽的养殖规模和范围扩大,狼常常进入农家猎捕牲畜,被视作恶兽,成为了童话故事里的“大灰狼”,遭到了大范围的捕杀,栖息地也不断萎缩。

“大熊猫生活的范围,比如平武一带,以前都是有狼的,但是现在基都没有了。”刘昊说,到了上世纪80年代,狼的活动范围已经被“驱赶”至川西地区,种群数量也锐减。

狼处于食物链顶端,在自然界中,它们的食物以有蹄类动物为主,比如野猪、鹿等等,对狼赶尽杀绝,最终会破坏生态平衡。美国黄石公园曾经为了保护有蹄类动物,大肆捕杀狼群,白臀鹿等有蹄类动物失去了天敌,种群大爆发,啃食树皮、树苗,对生态造成了破坏。后来,黄石公园管理者再次在公园内引入并重建狼群,从而使公园内以白臀鹿为代表的有蹄类得到有效控制,森林和草原得到恢复,整个区域的生态系统重新趋于平衡。

在若尔盖,牧民对狼的看法也有改观。以前被认为是“恶兽”的狼,一定程度上也起到了保护草场的作用。狼的食物之一草原鼠兔,是若尔盖草原生态的一大杀手。高原鼠兔繁殖力惊人,牧草返青时,也是它们大量繁殖的季节,它们在草原上到处打洞,使沙土裸露,水土流失加剧,草场退化。“狼吃了鼠兔,一定程度上可以减少鼠患。”若尔盖县林草局野保股股长杨恒说。

可以说,狼是生态系统里很重要的一个开关,相当于自上而下的一个“控制器”。

保护站要做什么?

首先开展监测调查,摸清家底

若尔盖是我省狼群相对集中的区域之一,现有种群数量200只左右。保护站设在四川若尔盖湿地国家级自然保护区(以下下简称“保护区”)。

在保护区近年开展的常规巡护中,不时会发现狼的身影,并已经开展了相关监测工作。有一次,一位牧民告诉巡护员,狼群每天都会从他家的草场穿过,早出晚归,像上班一样;还有一次,巡护员远远望见七匹狼站在山头……这些信息都被记录了下来,为保护站提供了珍贵的基础资料。

不过,对狼的保护仍存在短板。若尔盖以“黑颈鹤的故乡”而闻名,自1998年建保护区以来,主要的研究和监测都集中在鸟类。若尔盖狼生态保护监测站,是保护区内的第一个兽类站。“一直以来,我们对包括狼在内的兽类,没有开展过系统、完整监测,种群的信息相对空白,深入研究不足。” 四川若尔盖湿地国家级自然保护区管理局副局长石磊说。

保护站建立后,首先将开展监测系统化监测,把狼的基础数据建起来,了解狼在若尔盖的分布情况、种群数量等信息,摸清家底。未来,还有望借鉴黑颈鹤的研究方式,通过安装GPS跟踪器等方式,进一步了解狼的生活习性。

困难也摆在保护站的面前,最大的制约是人才短板。“保护区没有专门从事兽类研究的人才,以往的经验主要在鸟类上,还不能完全移植到兽类。” 石磊向广大科研机构和科研人员抛出橄榄枝,希望引才借智,建立科研合作关系,强化狼的生态保护与科研监测。

人与狼如何和谐共生?

恢复保护生态,让狼回到大自然觅食

建立保护站的目的是保护狼。如果狼的种群得到了扩大,会不会再度对牧民的牲畜产生威胁,引发人狼矛盾?

刘昊多次在若尔盖、红原等地考验研究,发现人狼矛盾虽然不像早年间那样突出,但一直存在。

无论是草场放牧还是旅游开发,人类活动或多或少打破了生态平衡,导致狼在自然界的食物减少,为了生存就会偷食牧民的牛羊;牧民虽然不会像过去一样直接捕杀狼,但遇到牲畜被偷吃,仍然希望政府相关保护机构出面对狼的范围和数量进行控制。

“都说人怕狼,其实狼更加怕人。”换句话说,如果自然界里有足够的食物,狼冒险吃牲畜的可能性就小很多。刘昊建议,保护站建立后,应当有效管控家畜数量,控制家畜的放养量,给其他的有蹄类野生动物腾出空间,保证狼的食物充足。此外,还应当配套完善相关政策,如果遇到狼吃羊的问题,能否考虑给养殖户一些补偿,缓解人狼矛盾。

“人与狼矛盾是表面,背后是人类活动与生态保护的矛盾。”刘昊认为,建保护站不仅意味着工作内容的增加,还意味着保护理念的升级——通过对狼的研究保护,推动对整个区域生态系统的保护,实现人与自然的和谐发展。

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