Posted on 01 October 2006
The 2004 Panda Survey concluded that 1,600 giant pandas survive in the wild.
The pandas are scattered in 20 isolated populations in 6 major landscapes in southwestern China in the upper Yangtze River basin. Almost 1/2 of these pandas are found in the Minshan landscape, shared by Sichuan and Gansu provinces.
In a major development, the provincial governments of Sichuan and Gansu have each committed to establish new protected areas (PAs), linking corridors and co-managed areas to ensure all the pandas in Minshan are both protected and reconnected to ensure their long term health and survival. This represents the designation of almost 1.6 million hectares of panda habitat. Both provincial governments have also committed to establish PAs for other wildlife totaling an additional 900,000 hectares by 2010.
WWF, the global conservation organization, recognizes these commitments by the 2 provincial governments as a Gift to the Earth – symbolising a globally significant conservation achievement and inspiring environmental leadership.
As China's economy continues its rapid development, it is more important than ever to conserve the forest home of the giant panda – not just to safeguard this well-loved species, but also to maintain the subsistence fisheries and water resources essential for the livelihoods and subsistence needs of the nearly 40% of China's people who share the Yangtze River basin with the giant panda.