Autumn livestock transfer starts in Xinjiang to help protect grassland

Herders in Heshuo County in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have begun the annual transfer of their livestock to autumn pastures in a spectacular seasonal migration that will see over one million sheep and cattle moved.

Around 100,000 animals have already begun their seasonal journey to autumn pastures in the region.

Rotational grazing, or transhumance, ensures the animals have fresh grass to graze while protecting the environment across their range.

Herdsman Musajan Turgun and his 160 sheep left their summer pasture recently, enduring a two day journey to reach their autumn pastures about 60 kilometers away.

"We arrived here two days ago. The grass and water are great. We will stay here for two months, during which my sheep and cows will eat more and grow bigger. Then I can sell them for a good price," said Turgun.

There are over 66,000 hectares of pasture across Heshuo County in central Xinjiang with the seasonal livestock migration helping herders avoid overgrazing to preserve the area's unique flora and fauna.

"During each season, we decide on the route and time of migration based on the growth of the grass. This gives us a natural interdependence with the grassland. We still keep this tradition today. Thanks to the annual rotational grazing system, the ecological environment of the grassland is well protected," said Shanji Jiafu, another herdsman in Heshuo County.

The autumn migration of livestock in Heshuo County will continue until late September.

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