A ragtag group of about two dozen men fighting to stop poaching of the Tibetan antelope in China was forced to disband this month. Leaders of the China’s Wild Yak Brigade were told to take county jobs, and other members were offered jobs with the government’s less-experienced anti-poaching program. The antelope, whose fine wool is smuggled out of China to make expensive shahtoosh shawls sold in the West, live in the Kekexili wilderness. With very limited resources, the brigade over eight years uncovered nearly 100 poaching operations and confiscated more than 8,600 antelope pelts, winning an international following in the process. Two of the brigade’s leaders were killed for the cause. Poachers seem to be winning the battle, however: Eight years ago, some 200,000 roamed the wilderness, but only 30,000 now remain.

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