A group of unfeeling Chinese tourists have been given a heavy fine for chasing a herd of endangered Tibetan antelope in cars inside a national animal reserve in Tibet.
The incident happened during China’s weeklong national holiday last week. The seven tourists were traveling in Tibet when they entered a restricted area inside the reserve to take photos of the antelopes.
But they were not satisfied with just candid pictures.
In photos taken by witnesses, two white, four-wheel drives can be seen chasing a herd of antelopes. The seven tourists drove dangerously close to the animals and made them run at top speed for more than a minute for the chance to take photos, said the Tibetan forestry authority.
Frightened antelopes running at top speed can suffer heart and lung failure and even possible death from pulmonary artery rupture, according to a Tibetan forestry official.
The park authorities searched a 300 sq km area of the nature reserve after the car chase. Fortunately, none of the animals were harmed or found dead.
The authorities fined all seven individuals 15,000 yuan ($2,250) for “disturbing rare wildlife's living and breeding.”
They also said the officials responsible for guarding and managing the nature reserve would be held accountable for the breach in the restricted area.
The demand for underwool of Tibetan antelope has pushed the animal species to the brink of extinction. Thankfully, their numbers have increased slightly in recent years due to the crackdown on poaching.
Even though the tourists were penalized, some netizens though the punishment was too light.
“I think the punishment measures should include the suspects themselves being chased by cars at top speed,” one Weibo user said.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Garry Tucker/USFWS/ Handout via REUTERS