China learns from experience of protecting giant pandas to care for snow leopards
Published: Oct 28, 2020 11:42 PM

Two giant pandas are pictured at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding during a theme event marking International Panda Day in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Oct. 27, 2020. (Photo by Chen Juwei/Xinhua)

A league has been formed to protect both giant pandas and snow leopards in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, involving national reserves in Sichuan and forest associations of five places including Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Gansu, Shaanxi and Qinghai Province.

At a forum discussing how to protect these two rare animals held on Tuesday, it was announced that the league will build a platform for communication and strengthen the exchange of wildlife protection technology and experience in western Chinese provinces and even with foreign countries, according to a documentary sent to the Global Times by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The authority of Wolong National Reserve had previously put forward plans to protect pandas and snow leopards, which are two famous species that attract public attention to the topic of nature conservation. The WWF has also launched a plan to protect the two species this year.

China has rich experience in protecting and taking care of giant pandas, and the experience can be used to care for snow leopards. Li Sheng, a researcher at the School of Life Science at Peking University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that giving joint consideration to these two species is a new strategy. 

A snow leopard is seen in an undated infrared photo taken in Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. (Xinhua)

“Snow leopards are typical of species living in an alpine ecosystem and giant pandas inhabit low and mid-mountain forests. So giving consideration to these two animals can broaden the protection scope and benefit more species with different ecological needs in the same area,” Li said.

China is building a national park for giant pandas, which can accommodate numerous animals including large carnivores under a larger protective system. 

The national park will cover an area of about 27,000 kilometers, crossing three provinces – Sichuan Province and Northwest China’s Shaanxi and Gansu provinces – as well as 12 cities, providing unprecedented new opportunities to protect large carnivores within the pandas’ habitat.

Li noted that the protection plan for pandas and snow leopards will play an important role in the national park and it can benefit the whole ecological system.

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