Internet-famous beggar wolf raises concerns among wildlife experts in Hoh Xil
In the remote wilderness of Hoh Xil Nature Reserve in Qinghai Province, northwest China, a wild wolf has gained unexpected fame on the Internet.
The creature, often captured on camera wiggling its tail or lying flat on the road, has become a sensation due to its peculiar habit of begging for food from passing visitors.
With each offering from tourists and subsequent online posts, the wolf appears to be growing larger and turning more and more like a dog, earning chuckles from viewers across the country.
However, this amusing spectacle has raised concerns among wildlife experts, sparking debates about the impact of human intervention on the natural order of this uninhabited land.
Videos of tourists feeding various wild animals, including wolves and bears, in the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve have circulated on social media for some time.
However, this newfound popularity of the beggar wolf has intensified worries within the wildlife research community. Experts emphasize the complexity of the ecosystem within the reserve, highlighting the delicate balance of the natural food chain, which includes the natural births and deaths of animals.
"People should stop feeding the wild animals arbitrarily," said Ren Qixin, deputy curator of Xining Wildlife Park. "I believe in the kindness of the people who feed the animals, however, their kindness need to be built on rational thinking."
Dai Qiang, a researcher from the Chengdu Institute of Biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, pointed out the risks associated with feeding wild animals.
Not only do these creatures, particularly those that are injured, carry potentially harmful bacteria, but getting too close to aggressive animals like wild wolves can also be dangerous.
"Unless the animal is endangered, it is not advisable to interfere with the natural survival laws governing these creatures. While they are designated as second-class protected animals nationally and deserving of our protection, excessive human assistance could lead to attachment and dependency, especially in the case of wolves," Dai said.