Tibetan antelope, also known as chiru, is endemic to the Tibetan Plateau. Tibetan antelopes prefer open alpine flat terrain and cold steppe at an altitude between 3,250 and 5,500 m.
Their exceptionally fine underfur helps antelopes to survive in the harsh climate of Tibet. Unfortunately, this fur, called shahtoosh, is also the main reason they are killed. Due to the illegal hunting, their number is decreasing fast, and these animals have become endangered in recent years. Today their quantity is around 75,000 individuals. A large number of Tibetan antelopes can be found within the Chang Tang Nature Reserve in northern Tibet.
Antelopes have two migration seasons. The first one that occurs in winter is the mating season. Male and female herds usually live separately, but during the rut, they run at high speeds and with all their strength to meet each other on the mating ground near the Hoh Xil’s Wudaoliang protection station. Antelopes can operate at speeds up to 100 km/hour. This is also the only time when males gather any conflicts.
Another spectacular migration occurs in early July. Tens of thousands of female antelopes move to their lambing grounds at high elevations at Lake Zhuonai. The whole process usually lasts for about 10 days, during which thousands of antelopes give birth to their young, sometimes even simultaneously. This one is called one of the three most spectacular migrations in the world.