For what is perhaps a sorely-needed break from the usual content here on The New Dominion, I refer our readers to the Xinjiang Snow Leopard Project.

The Xinjiang Snow Leopard Project (XSLP) is an initiative started by the Beijing Forestry University and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at Oxford University.

Working closely with the Xinjiang Government and local communities we are undertaking a responsive research programme, to assess the current status of snow leopards and their prey within the Taxkurgan area of West Xinjiang. We are using this basic information to determine current threats and devise mitigation strategies for policy makers to safeguard this unique ecosystem and its species.

Doctor Philip Riordan, a senior British researcher with the team, is maintaining a blog on the experiences of tracking down elusive snow leopards in the beautiful wilds of Tashkorgan here on blogger. It’s great because he’s just started his blog so we all can track the progress he manages to post on his blog from start to finish. The downside, of course, is that all that’s up so far are the issues he’s having with Fedex coordinating the shipping of the seemingly intricate and expensive equipment you need to get a photo of one of these creatures in action. Frankly, why waste so much money when Chinese farmers have developed much cheaper methods? The UK has a lot to learn from China about these issues.

Okay, haha, but seriously it is indeed refreshing to see Westerners, Han Chinese from the interior, and locals get together for a cause that for the most part has no thorny political aspects. The team includes a certain Arimujiang Deyimbayi and a Mr. Kometti; the area in question being Tashkorgan I cannot really say with authority that these guys are Uyghurs or Tajiks, but they’re definitely not Han. And I’m definitely intrigued by this Mr. Kometti, whose glaringly non-pinyin ethnically ambiguous surname, puzzling lack of a first name, and rugged looks make me for some reason think him to be a character in romping murder mystery theater production.

Of course, how could something this delightful not bring about some much needed international and interethnic cooperation?

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