China is creating a "Giant" giant panda reserve Press review by pauline staub

Introduction

As you all know the panda is king in China and all measures to protect this specie is good to take. The last taken one is about creating a huge natural reserve dedicated to this mammal. The panda is one of the laziest animal on earth, it spend all its time sleeping and eating. It is even too lazy to breed. That characteristic is playing a role in the reduction of its population. But measures are taking to increase the number of wild pandas in China.

Panda population

The goods news are accumulating for the panda preservation. In fact except that pandas are famous for doing nothing but sleeping and eating they are also known for how endangered they are. However the International Union For Conservation Nature (IUCN) has moved the giant panda off the endangered species list on September 2016. Of course the panda is still considered vulnerable, it was put in the “vulnerable species” (after their numbers rose by 17% between 2003 and 2013). But nowadays its population is now exceeding 2 000 adults living in captivity worldwide and 200 in China and about 1 864 wild adults only in China. China wants to increase this number to 2 000 wild adults in 2025. The IUCN reported a “positive sign confirming that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective”.

Evolution of the panda population

Measures taken

Until now the measures were the protection of the forests (such as reforestation and banning logging in panda habitats), increasing the number of pandas reserve and creating “corridors” so isolated wild panda populations can mix and strengthen the gene pool. In addition the government hired anti-poaching patrols and moved humans out of the reserves.

Even though pandas are still at risks because of the reduction of bamboos availability (its main source of nutrition) due to the climate change. In fact the pandas have to eat more than 20kg of bamboos per day to fulfil their needs. But there are proofs that the efforts are paying off.

The natural reserve

To keep on this way China will start the creation of a vast natural reserve dedicated to pandas. The zone will be three times the size of the Yellowstone Park in the United States (the largest natural park in the US, bigger than the size of the Corse). It will be a 27 134 square kilometres and will link 67 existing reserves on 6 mountain ranges. The reserve will take place on territories of the Gansu, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces in south-central China. This reserve will allow pandas a huge zone to breed and thus increase their gene pool freely but under the control and protection of specialists. But the park will not only protect the giant pandas but as well as 8 000 endangered animals and plants. Even if the population has increased during the last decade, it could be reverse by the climate change, which is predicted to wipe out more than a third of the animal’s habitat over the next 80 years.

Map of the location of the reserve

The negative point of this project

On the other hand the 170 00 people who live in the zone will be moved off their homes as its on the land of the reserve and the government do not want humans in it. And families have been living in this area for generations. The threat they pose by bamboo harvesting and livestock grazing are deemed to necessitate their removal. The government first bring out the project in 2014 to let time for people to move and it offered jobs and new homes and building infrastructures. Forced removals are a sensitive topic in China, where decades of rapid urbanisation have forced millions of people from rural land to make way for roads, factories and high-rise apartment blocks. The 2008 Beijing Olympics alone was blamed for the forced evacuation of 2 million people to make way for infrastructure.

Concludion

To conclude we can say that the panda may not be on the endangered species list anymore; we still have to protect them, as they are vulnerable animals. The creation of this reserve is a good thing but the population who’s going to be expelled may disagree.

The artcile

If you want to take a look at the article here is the link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/china-to-create-giant-giant-panda-reserve-to-boost-wild-population

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