Giant pandas to be released into wild outside Sichuan for the first time

  • ASEAN+
  • Saturday, 07 Dec 2019

Pandas playing at the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas. Authorities will release two giant pandas from the sanctuary into the wild. - Xinhua/ANN

CHENGDU: China plans to release one or two giant pandas into the wild in a nature reserve in east China's Jiangxi Province, the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP) said Saturday (Dec 7).

This will be the first time that a giant panda is released into the wild outside southwest China's Sichuan Province, where 13 had been released by the end of last year.

According to CCRCGP, an expert meeting was held in Jiangxi, where it was decided that one or two pandas will be transported from Sichuan to Jiangxi and be released into the Jiangxi Guanshan National Nature Reserve.

The nature reserve has a mild climate and a quite intact ecosystem, with abundant bamboo resources and little human interference, which is good for giant pandas and other wild animals to live and reproduce.

Researchers with CCRCGP introduced to the experts the wild training of three pandas named Panwang, Ranran and Yuner, respectively. All three pandas are two years old. Panwang and Ranran are female, and Yuner is male.

Researchers also briefed experts on the research method of the giant panda reintroduction program and the environment of the nature reserve.

Experts came to the conclusion that the three pandas are ready for reintroduction, and the reserve meets the requirements for the program.

The giant panda reintroduction program refers to releasing captive-bred pandas to their historical distribution areas to live and reproduce after wild training so as to rebuild the wild population of the giant panda.

Researchers will be able to obtain important data on the pandas adapting to the environment and climate by observing the pandas after they are released into the wild.

The programme has high research value for studying the reasons why pandas died out in their historical distribution areas, and predicting climate change's influence on the current panda population, according to experts.

The historical distribution areas of giant pandas include southwest China's Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, east China's Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces and central China's Hubei and Hunan provinces, said Huang Yan, an expert with CCRCGP.

The programme will also help expand the distribution range of giant pandas and reduce the extinction risks of their wild population.

The number of captive pandas stood at 600 globally as of November this year. There are fewer than 2,000 pandas living in the wild, mostly in the provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi. - Xinhua
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