The third pole of the planet, the Tibetan Plateau, is full of biodiversity. The Tibetan Plateau, ranging in altitude between 12,000 and 29,000 feet, stretches from Qilian Mountain in the northeast to Mt. Everest in the southwest, from Karakorma in the northwest to the Henduan Mountain range in the southeast. It covers an area about four times the size of Texas. In Chinese it is called “Qingzang Gaoyuan”(青藏高原). It has about 142 womb-born animals, 473 egg-born birds, 42 reptiles, and 62 varieties of fish, as well as about 2300 types of flies and insects.
Many of the Tibetan plateau mammals are on the Chinese national list, levels number 1 and 2, of protected and endangered species: Hanuman langur, snow leopard, Tibetan antelope, and Giant Panda, etc. Therefore, it is essential that these creatures be protected. And TEF believes that education is the foundation for the human specie to learn and be an active part of the ecosystem.
The Tibetan Ecology Foundation (TEF) proposes to publish an encyclopedia of mammals in the Tibetan language. For most of the world, the 21st century is an environmentally conscious age, but indigenous Tibetans lack basic information about plant and animal species and the ecosystems that sustain them. There are at least three reasons why this is so. First, Tibetans have never been exposed to basic biological or ecological scientific theory or information. Secondly, there are no environmental education materials published in the Tibetan language; thus, Tibetans would need to learn a second language to have access to this information. Lastly, globalization, modernization, and the expanding need for resources is changing traditional Tibetan ways of life and their relationship to their environment.