Habitat: the land of the panda

Pandas live mainly bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China. Most of the wild population being distributed between the Qinling and Minshan Mountains.

 / ©: naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon
© naturepl.com / Edwin Giesbers / WWF-Canon
 

A shrinking refuge

The giant panda was once widespread throughout southern and eastern China, as well as neighbouring Myanmar (Burma) and northern Vietnam.
Due to expanding human populations and development, the species is now restricted to only 20 or so isolated patches of mountain forest in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

The panda's habitat surrounds the great Sichuan Plain. To the north are the Qinling Mountains and to the west are the Minshan, Qionglai, Liangshan, Daxiangling, and Xiaoxiangling Mountains.

WWF's panda conservation work to date has focussed on the Minshan and Qinling Mountains.

Increasing protected areas
The provincial governments of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu, working closely with WWF, have been creating new nature reserves and extending existing reserves.

Panda habitat / ©: Nigel Allan / WWF
Pandas live in around 20 isolated habitats (red) in Gansu, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, China.
© Nigel Allan / WWF
Minshan Mountains. Sichuan, China. rel=
The mountain pass between between Wanglang and Baihe Nature Reserves in the Minshan Mountains. Sichuan, China.
© Philippe Semanaz

Minshan Mountains

The Minshan Mountains flank the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the highest and biggest plateau in the world.
These mountains form a natural barrier between the densely populated southern and eastern provinces of China and the great wilderness of the Tibetan Plateau to the west.

WWF has identified the Minshan Mountain range in Sichuan and Gansu provinces as a particularly important landscape for biodiversity: Its magnificent forests are home to a stunning array of wildlife besides the giant panda, such as dwarf blue sheep and beautiful multi-coloured pheasants.

There are around 720 pandas in the Minshan Mountains, 45% of the total wild population. PingWu county, in the Minshan Mountain area, has the highest density of pandas in the wild.
The Qinling Mountains. rel=
The Qinling Mountains. Shaanxi, China.
© WWF Canon / Michel GUNTHER

Qinling Mountains

The Qinling Mountains, in the Shaanxi Province, forms a natural barrier between northern and southern China and protects the south from the cold northern weather and warm rains on the southern slopes support a rich variety of plants and animals.
It is an important watershed for China as a drop of rain in the Qinling Mountains, could end up in one of country's two great rivers, the Yangtze or the Yellow.

There are around 200-300 hundred pandas in the Qinling Mountains, 20% of the total wild population. The region is also home to a number of other endangered species, including the golden monkey, takin and crested ibis.

Qinling sub-species

Scientists recently discovered that the pandas in the Qinling Mountains are actually a different subspecies from other giant panda. Read more.

Virtual Gifts

Virtual Gifts / ©: WWF

Connecting habitats

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