LHASA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region hired 700,000 people to protect the environment in 2017, according to the regional environmental protection department.
The jobs, mainly as wildlife and forest rangers in natural reserves, were given to former farmers and herders. Each employee receives an annual salary of 3,000 yuan (around 474 U.S. dollars).
Tashi Phuntsok, 36, is a wildlife ranger. With a motorbike and a telescope, he patrols Siling Lake, a large plateau lake, to help protect endangered bird species.
"Protecting wildlife is protecting our homeland," said Tashi Phuntsok.
Over the past five years, Tibet has spent a total of 25.4 billion yuan to compensate local residents who protect the plateau's forests, meadows, and wetlands.
Tibet has 47 nature reserves covering more than 413,000 square kilometers, accounting for about 34 percent of the region's total land area.