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The creature that inspired Pikachu is being blamed for an ecological crisis – but it may be innocent

By Li Li, Assistant Professor of Landscape Ecology, Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University
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Known as the water tower of Asia, the Tibetan Plateau is where the mighty Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers begin as tiny trickles. The plateau is also sometimes referred to as the roof of the world – a vast plain raised 4,500 metres above sea level and surrounded on all sides by imposing mountain ranges, one of which includes Mount Everest. For the 1.4 billion people living downstream, the plateau is an irreplaceable source of fresh water.

For the nomadic people who live here, the plateau is their livelihood. But half of the meadows in the region are at risk of turning…

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