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Xainza Nature Reserve

Though the northern highland is somewhat uninhabitable for humans, for wildlife it is an absolute paradise. Xainza Nature Reserve, which was established in 1993 mainly to protect black-necked cranes* and the wetlands' ecological system, is a paradisiacal place for water birds. Located in Xainza County, Nakchu Prefecture, the reserve is the habitat for over 120 species of birds. It covers a total area of 40,000 square kilometers (15,444 sq miles) and is the highest and biggest among the seven nature reserves for black-necked cranes in China. Its advantageous location in the south of the northern plateau and lower altitude provide a warmer climate for the birds to live. Runoff from the nearby Gangdise Mountain's glaciers and snowfall, and the annual rain volume of 300 millimeters (11.8 inches) are sources of moisture for the reserve. The surrounding lakes, with low mineralization water, and widely-distributed marshlands and grasslands, are also indispensable factors for the sustainability of a favorable inland wetland and water ecological system, which is considered to be the best living environment for black-necked cranes. *Black-necked cranes: also called 'Tibetan Cranes' for they are the only crane species living on highlands. With a national first-class wildlife protection designation, the black-necked cranes are an endangered species, with a total number of no more than 6,000 in the world. They mainly live in Tibet Autonomous Region, Yunan, Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces of China, with a few in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
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