To return giant pandas to the wild the ultimate goal: NPC deputy
Published: Mar 05, 2023 02:30 PM
A panda sticks out its tongue after enjoying a meal of bamboo at the Beijing Zoo on February 27, 2023. Photo: IC

A panda sticks out its tongue after enjoying a meal of bamboo at the Beijing Zoo on February 27, 2023. Photo: IC

The number of giant pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has increased 12-fold over the past 30 years from 18 in 1994 to 237 today, Hou Rong, a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC), said on Sunday. She noted that the ultimate goal is to return giant pandas to the wild so that they can survive and reproduce on their own.

Hou, also the deputy director of the Chengdu base, presented a giant panda cub simulation model to the press on Sunday at the "Deputies' Corridor" at the first session of the 14th NPC.

She noted that breeding giant pandas is only a phase while the ultimate goal is to return them to the wild. To achieve this goal, more efforts should be made to protect the natural habitats of giant pandas.

In July 2021, the number of giant pandas in the wild in China reached more than 1,800 and their status was downgraded from "Endangered" to "Vulnerable," Chinese environment authority announced.

"As relevant laws on wildlife protection and animal epidemic prevention had lacked legal provisions previously, I have submitted motions to amend the laws multiple times, proposing the establishment of a joint prevention and control mechanism for epidemic diseases and strengthening the management of stray animals. These suggestions have been taken to varying degrees," Hou said. "During the 15 years as an NPC deputy, I have submitted 31 proposals and motions, 80 percent of which have played a role in the formulation of laws and regulations in related fields."

On October 12, 2021, China established the first batch of national parks including the Giant Panda National Park, marking a new phase of nature conservation in the country.

Recently a video taken by netizens in the US Memphis Zoo showing the conditions of a 23-year-old female giant panda Ya Ya has sparked outrage among the public.

In the video, Ya Ya looked having difficulty to swallow the bamboo provided by the zoo, and the skinny panda is forced to beg for food from visitors. Netizens expressed concerns about Ya Ya's thin physique and unclean living conditions, and urged to bring this national treasure of China back home.

In April 2003, Ya Ya and Le Le, two giant pandas from China, arrived at the Memphis Zoo as a part of a joint conservation and research project between the two countries. Earlier in February, Le Le, Ya Ya's male partner, died at the zoo at the age of 25, triggering a global outcry over the suspected lack of proper care for the giant pandas in the zoo.

Global Times