Category of site: Natural site
Qinghai Hoh Xil, located in the north-eastern extremity of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is the largest and highest plateau in the world. This extensive area of alpine mountains and steppe systems is situated more than 4,600 meters above sea level, where sub-zero average temperatures prevail all year-round. The site’s geographical and climatic conditions have nurtured a unique biodiversity. More than one third of the plant species, and all the herbivorous mammals are endemic to the plateau. The property secures the complete migratory route of the Tibetan antelope, one of the endangered large mammals that are endemic to the plateau.
In July 2017, Qinghai Hoh Xil was added to the World Natural Heritage List.
Hoh Xil, which means “beautiful girl” in Mongolian, is located in the north-eastern extremity of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and listed as the largest and highest plateau in the world. With an average elevation of 4,600 meters above sea level on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is one of the major headwater sources of the Yangtze River.
Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve is China’s largest and the world’s third largest uninhabited area. Because of the high altitude and fierce weather, it is impossible for people to live there, and therefore, it is a paradise for wildlife and home to more than 230 species of wild animals including endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope. It also covers several migration routes of the species.
Tibetan antelope, the endemic ungulate in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, is an IUCN EN species, listed in CITES I, and recognized as the National Class I Protected animal. In 1997, the first National Nature Reserve with the purpose of protecting Tibetan antelope was established in Hoh Xil. About 60,000 Tibetan antelope live freely in Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve without being hunted and killed.