The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries located in southwest Sichuan province of China, is the home to more than 30% of the world’s highly endangered Giant Pandas and is among the most important sites for the captive breeding of these pandas. It covers 9245 km² with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains. Along with the Giant Panda, the sanctuary is a refuge to other endangered species such as the red panda, the snow leopard, and the clouded leopard. Outside of the tropical rainforests, it is among the botanically richest sites of the world, and is home to between 5,000 and 6,000 species of flora. It has been noted that the region is similar to the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era.
The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries consist of seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks.
Seven Nature Reserves
Wolong Nature Reserve
Fengtongzhai Nature Reserve
Mt. Siguniang Nature Reserve
Laba River Nature Reserve
Heishui River Nature Reserve
Jintang-Kongyu Nature Reserve
Caopo Nature Reserve
Nine Scenic Parks
Mt. Qingcheng–Dujiangyan Scenic Park
Mt. Tiantai Scenic Park
Mt. Siguniang Scenic Park
Xiling Snow Mountain Scenic Park
Mt. Jiguan-Jiulonggou Scenic Park
Mt. Jiajin Scenic Park
Miyaluo Scenic Park
Mt. Lingzhen-Mt. Daxue Scenic Park
Mt. Erlang Scenic Park
The panda, also known as the giant panda to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda, is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda’s diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. As a result of farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.
The panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. A 2007 report shows 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild, while a 2006 study via DNA analysis estimated that this figure could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000. Some reports also show that the number of pandas in the wild is on the rise. However, the IUCN does not believe there is enough certainty yet to reclassify the species from Endangered to Vulnerable.
While the dragon has often served as China’s national emblem, internationally the panda appears at least as commonly. As such, it is becoming widely used within China in international contexts, for example the five Fuwa mascots of the Beijing Olympics.
Read more at Wikipedia Giant Panda .