Science

Wild animals seen at Beijing 2022 show success of environmental protection efforts

Photo taken on Jan. 28, 2022 shows a view of the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing District, Beijing, capital of China. The National Alpine Skiing Center located in Yanqing is the first Olympic-standard alpine ski venue in China with a maximum vertical drop of about 900 meters. The center is set to host the Alpine skiing competitions at Beijing 2022.Photo:Xinhua

Nearby some of the arenas where the sports events of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics took place, such as the National Alpine Skiing Center in the capital’s Yanqing district, a group of secret spectators watched the fierce competition together with human audiences.

During the two weeks the Games were held, two wild Bengal cats were seen near the National Alpine Skiing Center, one on January 31 and the other on February 3, Sanlian Lifeweek Magazine reported.

Luo Jinshu, a Bengal cat expert at the School of Life Sciences of Peking University and a technical official for the alpine skiing event at Beijing 2022, said he felt excitement when he learned of the two uninvited guests as that demonstrated that humans and animals can get along in more diverse ways.

The Bengal cat is national second-class protected animal. The first wild Bengal cat that appeared in the afternoon of January 31 moved slowly across the race track where people were rehearsing for the medal ceremony. Seemingly unafraid of people, it made its way to a fence and jumped out of the venue.
Many of the staff took pictures and videos of the wild animal.
The second one was seen by a reporter who at first thought the animal was an ordinary cat. The reporter said that the cat jogged past him to the outside of a net, then stopped and turned to look around, apparently unfraid of humans.

The relaxed nature of the two wild Bengal cats surprised Luo, who noted that the animals are very sensitive about their environment. He said he feels the attitude of animals toward people actually reflects the attitude of human beings toward animals.

“In my opinion, the Bengal cats appearing twice on the ski track in the Winter Olympic competition area, to a certain extent, is also a symbol and reflection of the Olympic spirit,” Luo added.

All stadiums and arenas for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics made use of environmental protection technology to keep disturbance of the natural environment to a minimum, China Radio International reported.

The designs of the venues tried to adapt to the original terrain. For example, the maximum drop of platforms at the National Ski Jumping Center is 142 meters, so the organizing committee of the Beijing 2022 selected a mountain where the drop is around 140 meters.

Liu Yumin, head of the organizing committee’s department of planning and construction, explained that this reduces not only the need to make changes to the original topography, but also the amount of earthwork, reducing the time for construction and costs.

All these endeavors to protect the environment and respect nature are a model for how to balance human activity and the welfare of wild animals, experts on wild animal protection noted.

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