Rangers work to keep park’s forests safe in NW China’s Qinghai

XINING, China, Aug. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — “Qinghai in the Past Decade” media tour got underway recently. On August 7, some 60 reporters from domestic media outlets visited the Qinghai section of Qilian Mountain National Park to learn about Qinghai’s progress of ecological civilization construction, according to Qinghai Provincial Administration of Qilian Mountain National Park. The Qilian mountain range is an essential water source in NW China and the snow-capped mountains, glaciers, forests and grasslands are habitats for many rare wild animals.

In 2017, a government plan was passed to pilot the construction of a national park in the mountains. Since then, forest rangers have become a vital force in environmental protection. Li Shunshan, 40, has been engaged in forest protection for several years in the Qilian Mountains. The former herder spends his days patrolling the mountains by motorcycle, horse, or foot. His base, Sigou Management and Protection Station, sits at an altitude of 2,450 meters and is in charge of an area of 500,484 mu in the Qilian Mountains. Walking an average of 15 kilometers each day. “We usually set out for the forest at 7 am and return at around 4 pm,” Li said. “We patrol the region for 22 days a month. The main purpose of patrolling forests is to stop those who dig and hunt illegally. Meanwhile, we need to check for forest fires and carry out education on nature.”

The Qinghai section of Qilian Mountains National Park has 40 management and protection centers or stations. There are currently 1,265 rangers who devote their time to protecting the local environment. The construction of the national park has boosted animal populations and biodiversity in the Qilian Mountains, which lie on the border of Qinghai and Gansu provinces. “The improved environment has seen the revival of the population of some endangered species. Images of snow leopard, Chinese desert cat and blue sheep, have been captured by infrared cameras several times in recent years,” Li said.

Building on his some years in the company of wildlife, the mountains, grasslands and rivers, Li said he loved working as a forest ranger.