A huge natural park for giant pandas should see the day in China in a few years, creating a refuge to promote copulation and reproduction.
China will create a huge natural park for its giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), in a significant investment. The state will devote at least 10 billion yuan over the next five years to building the “National Park for the Giant Panda”. The park will have a land area of 27,134 km2, almost as big as the whole country of Belgium. The park’s financing was validated at the beginning of March 2018 after an agreement between the Chinese Bank China Bank and the Sichuan Forest Service. The money will be used to finance poverty reduction programs in the areas concerned and to build the park’s new infrastructure.
A park designed to encourage the natural reproduction of pandas
“It is expected that this park will help wild pandas, isolated on six mountains across Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, to reproduce and strengthen genetic mixing,” said on March 8, 2018 China Daily, an official newspaper. This is not an easy task: pandas have the reputation of being clumsy during mating, which is often much too fast for the female to be fertilized. Moreover, the latter is receptive only two or three days a year to the advances of his partner.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) removed the animal from the list of endangered species in September 2016, highlighting the effectiveness of China’s efforts to save the mammal. The species remains however “vulnerable”. More than 80% of the world’s wild pandas are found in China’s southwest Sichuan province, and the rest in neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. A study published in September 2017 by American and Chinese researchers worried about the fragmentation of the territory of these animals which causes the isolation of certain populations.