'Elves of the plateau' winter in SW China's Tibet

Black-necked cranes across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are known as "elves of the plateau." Tibetans regard these graceful birds as "holy" and draw them on thangka. 

A group of black-necked cranes recently wintered in Linzhou County, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. According to the local forestry administration, around 2,000 to 2,200 have wintered in the county this year. 

In China, the black-necked crane is under first-class state protection. Thanks to years of ecological restoration and protection, its population has increased to over 10,000.

(All images via CFP.)

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