China poisoning Tibet’s keystone species
Jan. 3 (Arizona State University News): Pika, the diminutive mouse-like animal that the Chinese government treats as an agricultural pest is in fact a keystone species on the Tibetan plateau, says President’s Professor and renown conservationist Andrew Smith from the Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences. Smith has been studying the biology and environmental impacts of Pika for more than 30 years.
Smith believes the future of millions of people depends considerably on the efforts to protect and restore the habitats of the Tibetan pika.
Over the past 40 years, the Chinese government has sponsored the systematic poisoning of pikas in wintertime. Research points to a direct correlation between the killing of the pikas with increased probability of erosion, flooding of rivers downstream and considerable negative economic impacts.
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