Panda habitat extended in China
Xi’an, China – Giant panda habitat in the Qinling Mountains in central China has been expanded, greatly improving the protection of the endangered species.
The Qinling Mountains, encompassing a total area of 52,000km2, are home to about 200–300 pandas. However, rapid development and human settlement in the area in recent years have become major threats to the animal, which has little connection to other panda populations.
According to a survey conducted by WWF and China’s Shaanxi Forestry Department, extending the panda’s habitat and “green” corridors in Qinling — about 26km to the east, 39km to the west, 4km to the south and north — has helped reconnect fragmented populations in the area.
A newly-planted corridor above the Qinling Tunnel along National Road 108 has also contributed to bridging panda populations.
“It’s very encouraging that panda habitat has improved in size and quality,” said Dermot O’Gorman, WWF country representative in China.
“We hope the corridors can connect the panda populations separated by the highway, free the animal from human and traffic disturbance, and bring new hope to the conservation of wild giant pandas in Qinling.”
The survey was compiled from the results of monitoring and patrolling activities in 19 panda nature reserves over ten counties in the Qinling area.
With WWF’s support, local communities are being encouraged to take part in the management of nature reserves through the involvement of anti-poaching patrols and sustainable community development.
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