The giant panda was once widespread throughout southern and eastern China.But due to expanding human populations and development, the species is now restricted to around 20 isolated patches of bamboo forest in six mountain ranges in China's Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
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 Giant Panda is one of the most relevant endangered animal species of the world, it's considered a national treasure in China, thus this country had been taking several measures in order to preserve this species. The government had dedicated several natural areas as protected to serve as habitat for the pandas, and had also heavily promoted the eco-tourism, to help raise awareness of this problem.
Sichuan is a province that lies in the Sichuan basin and is surrounded by the Himalaya. The climate is often heavily foggy with few sunny days. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are home to more than 80% of the world's highly endangered Giant Pandas. It is among the most important sites for the captive breeding of these pandas.
Purpose of the Panda Reserves
◆Protect the forest or habitat of the Giant Pandas
◆Protect bamboo, the Giant Pandas’ major food source
◆Provide corridors for Giant Panda migrations between habitat areas
◆Patrol the reserves to prevent poaching and logging
◆Patrol the reserves to search for sick or injured Giant Pandas
◆Take sick or injured Giant Pandas to nearest panda hospital for care
◆Conduct research on Giant Panda behavior, mating, breeding, diseases, etc.
◆Educate tourists and visitors about Giant Panda protection
◆Support communities adjacent to the reserves to minimize the need to use the Giant Panda habitat for their livelihood
◆Educate local residents about the value of conserving the Giant Pandas and how tourism to the region is beneficial