It’s time to expand the protected areas that the critically endangered Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleucathe), the rarest member of the bear family, calls home. Once roaming throughout most of China, northern Vietnam and northern Myanmar today fewer than 1,600 giant pandas live in the wild in three Chinese provinces: Gansu, Shaanxi and Sichuan.
The research team developed habitat models using geographical/environmental information gathered by satellites overlaid with information on panda occurrence. After analyzing the six mountain regions in the three provinces where pandas are known to inhabit. It showed that 40 percent of the suitable habitat for pandas is inside the nature reserves. The Chinese government plans to add approximately 69,500 square miles of land to the country’s nature reserve system between 2010 and 2020.
Logging, residential development and the expansion of farming have destroyed the giant panda’s natural habitat.
The research is published in the journal Biological Conservation.
“Thanks China and researchers for helping expand the pandas chances at survival.” – Mother Nature
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