Habitat of the Panda
A shrinking refuge
Most of the remaining wild pandas live in the Minshan and Qinling mountains. And it is here that WWF has focussed its giant panda conservation work, supporting the Chinese government's efforts to conserve the species.
Since habitat loss is the most serious threat to the panda, establishing new reserves and extending existing ones are crucial to its survival.
After a significant increase in recent years, China now boasts a network of 67 panda reserves, which safeguard more than 66% of the giant pandas in the wild and almost 54% of their existing habitat.
The Chinese government, in partnership with WWF, has also developed bamboo corridors to link isolated pockets of forest, allowing the pandas within them to move to new areas, find more food and meet more potential breeding mates.
Spreading through the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, the Minshan mountains run along the north of the Great Sichuan plain and to the east of the Tibetan Plateau, and form part of one of the most important watersheds in China.
They are also home to hundreds of giant pandas with PingWu county boasting the highest density of wild pandas in the world.
But the Minshan mountains' magnificent forests are a critical habitat not only for giant pandas but also for a wealth of other species, including the dwarf blue sheep and beautiful multi-coloured pheasants.
Located in Shaanxi Province, the Qinling mountains form a natural barrier between northern and southern China, protecting the south from the cold northern weather.
And the warm rains on the southern slopes support a rich variety of plants and animals. Along with a few hundred pandas, the mountains are also home to other endangered species, including the golden monkey, takin and crested ibis.
As well as being fantastically rich in natural resources, the mountains also boast a long human history, dating back thousands of years.