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Adapting to New Challenges in the Tian Shan Mountains

by Christin VanZant last modified Mar 28, 2017 11:24 PM
Contributors: WWF
Today, the people and animals of the Central Tian Shan mountain range face a new threat: climate change. Increasingly erratic precipitation, unseasonal and extreme snowfall, and melting permafrost are transforming the landscape and making sheep herding more difficult, creating new risks for wildlife and livelihoods.

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But these remote communities are again demonstrating their resilience. With help from the USAID-funded Asia High Mountains project, the community is pursuing sustainable, income-generating alternatives to livestock raising. This includes helping local women produce and market handicraft products and building an ecotourism industry at the reserve. WWF has also been demonstrating yak herding as a lucrative climate-smart alternative to keeping domestic sheep and goats, since yaks can withstand snowfalls and cold temperatures better, require less care, and are less susceptible to predators. The demonstration herd that was started with 23 yaks several years ago has since grown to 66, and will soon be used to help local families start their own yak herds.

 

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