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Seven rangers spend years protecting nature reserve


02-06-2017 08:51 BJT

Few people would want to visit a forest in minus-thirty-degree weather, much less live in one. But one group of dedicated rangers has been doing that for years.

Bundled up in layers of clothes, hats, gloves, and thick boots, these park rangers are all set to work.

Ahead of them: snow, ice, and temperatures of minus-thirty degrees Celsius at the Changbai Nature Reserve Center, in the northeastern province of Jilin. The seven rangers are stationed at the national reserve. They conduct regular patrols, and are bound together by their duty to protect this natural asset.

Carrying 20 kilograms of corn through penetrating freezing air and snow, the rangers' first task is to head up into the rugged terrain, to disperse corn to wild animals.

"The area we passed is the core area of the Changbai national reserve, which has over three-hundred years of history. This is the main food source for wild animals in the region. The food keeps them warm in the winter," Xue Junsen, vice station master at Chagnbai Nature Reserve Center, said.

Besides feeding animals, the rangers have to protect pine cones, prevent hunting and fires, and monitor ecological conditions. But often, the toughest part of this job can't be foreseen.

"I thought there was a man hunting over there, but then I saw that it was a bear. I was frightened to death and ran away. My legs were sore from fear," Ranger Xu Qiulin said.

Patrolling the snow-blanketed Changbai Mountain is not easy, but what the rangers ask for is simple: Fresh vegetables. Because of the freezing temperatures, fresh vegetables are a luxury. Even keeping them indoors isn't good enough. So instead, the rangers' only meals in winter are pickles and instant noodles.

Twice a month, the rangers gather footage from hundreds of infrared cameras located in the wild. The videos give insight into the diverse range of wildlife that inhabits the area.

The population of wild boars has increased 30 percent, and the number of deer has gone up 26 percent, thanks to these rangers' daily care.

"The Changbai Mountain is like our home. We have to protect our home, better and better," Ranger Cai Yongdong said.

Stationed at the mountain for more than five years, if you count on the miles they have walked passed, the distance would surpass 15 circles of the equator.

The rangers' footprints surely will continue marking the blanket of snow at the Changbai Nature Reserve Center, their home away from home.

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