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The Increased Loss of Urumqi Glacier No.1, Tianshan Mountains

Located in the Tianger mountain of Tianshan Mountains southwest Urumqi, Urumqi Glacier No.1, Tianshan Mountains is the nearest glacier to a city and catches eyes of innumerable tourists each year. But now global warming, over-exploitation, as well as too many visitors together are causing a increased melting. The rising snow line is threatening the living space of plants and animals. It has been a year since Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region established its Glacier nature reserve to stop the vandalism such as travel expedition, nothing has be improved, tourists has not been reduced, there is a growing trend instead.

According to Li Zhongqin,head of Tianshan glacier observation station of Chinese Academy of Sciences : ongoing tourism, grazing, mining and other activities expedite melting of the Glacier, to carry out a prohibition is pressing.

Urumqi Glacier No.1, Tianshan Mountains is the source of the Urumqi River, Toutun River, Santun River and Wulasitai River Basin. It is also the production and life Water Source of Urumqi, Changji City, Hejing County and Wujiaqu City. In recent years, the ecological environment of this area is continually worsening and Glacier No.1 continue to shrink affected by natural factors and human factors of tourism, industrial production, mining development, motor vehicle exhaust, grazing. In fact, earlier than the establishment of nature reserve on October 1st 2006, Urumqi municipal government has made a decision to ban tourists visiting the Tianshan Glacier in order to protect the glacier from tourism pollution. Although travel agents cancel the organization travel due to the prohibition,the local herdsmen still put up checkpoints allowing visitors to enter the Glacier.

There are seven cars moved into the Glacier only in the morning of July 6. Visitors take pictures, play around and some of them even leave soft-drink bottles and food bags on the spot.

In addition, there are still mining cars working in the nearby hills while trucks pass by from time to time. Dozens of kilometers from the Glacier is a battery factory, and the grey gas it produces forms a “fog belt” over the glacier. All these are threatening the ecological safety of the Glacier.

There are rare plants and animals of Saussurea Involucrata, Rhodiola sachalinensis, Ili pika, Argali, Capra ibex, Snow Cock, Wall Creeper, Red-billed Crow on the Glacier, the increased loss of Urumqi Glacier No.1 is causing a great impact on them.

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