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Global Warming Causes Jump In Tibet's Crane Population

(AFP) Global warming has led to a rapid rise in Tibet's population of rare black-necked cranes, Chinese state media reports. But in a twist, Xinhua news agency said higher temperatures could eventually cause the demise of the already endangered species. This winter, researchers have counted 6,300 birds, roughly twice as many as in the early 1990s when observers questioned its survival, Xinhua reported. One crucial factor contributing to their recovery may be warming conditions in Tibet, where temperatures are currently rising 0.42 degrees Celsius (32.7 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade, according to the agency. Slightly higher temperatures have created better breeding conditions for the birds, Xinhua said. But over the long term, climate change could lead to reduced water in Tibet and less wetland areas suitable for nesting waterfowl, the agency said, quoting unnamed black-necked crane experts. The Tibetan plateau, seen as a sensitive barometer of world climate conditions, is experiencing accelerating glacial melt and other ecological change, Xinhua reported last month. The mountainous region's glaciers have been melting at an average rate of 131.4 square kilometres (50 square miles) per year over the past 30 years, a geological study released in January said.


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