2023 Panda Day celebrations begin with forum on intl cooperation for wildlife protection
Published: Sep 01, 2023 10:07 PM
Photo: Courtesy of WWF

Photo: Courtesy of WWF

Dynamic monitoring data shows that the number of wild pandas living in the Giant Panda National Park is steadily growing, an official from the Habitat Conservation Division of the Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Bureau, told a forum held on Friday in Beijing by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which kicked off the 2023 Panda Day celebrations that will last two months.

China started piloting the Giant Panda National Park system in 2017. In 2021, the country officially designated the first group of five national parks, covering an area of more than 27,000 square kilometers in Southwest China's Sichuan, Northwest China's Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

A total of 26.56 square kilometers of giant panda habitat has been protected and restored and 44 protection stations have been established, according to the official.

The Giant Panda National Park connects more than 80 giant panda conservation areas in the country and also includes potential habitats for the pandas, resolving the problem of fragmentation of their habitat and realizing the utmost protection for them, Wang Chunfeng, executive director general of the International Cooperation Center under the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, told the forum.

Faced with a worsening biodiversity situation, other species are in need of strengthened protection as well as giant pandas, Wang said, noting that experience gained in protection of giant pandas can be used to help other animals.

In December 2022, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted under the Chinese Presidency of the Global Biodiversity Framework. It represents the most ambitious global agreement on biodiversity in the history of environmental governance and will serve as the world's framework for actions taken at all levels to safeguard and restore biodiversity under 23 targets to be achieved by 2030 and toward four long-term goals for 2050.

The adoption of the framework is a landmark agreement and a victory for nature as well as for humanity, Marco Lambertini, special envoy of WWF International, said at the forum.

"We are at a critical time in history. The adoption of the framework is a pivotal moment where we can shift from being nature-negative to becoming a nature-positive civilization, avoid tipping points in global ecosystems, and generate positive societal impacts by transforming our relationship with nature," Lambertini said.

A lot of the experience gained in protecting wild giant pandas can also and has already been used in protecting other wild animals such as the snow leopard and Siberian tigers, WWF China's Chief Program Officer Zhou Fei told the Global Times at the forum on Friday.

For example, the Chinese government has launched a thorough investigation every 10 years to collect detailed information and data on the population of wild giant pandas, including the conditions and quality of their habitat as well as the threats they are faced with.

This information and data will serve as the basis for the country's actions to protect the wild pandas, and will also provide material for relevant research in colleges and institutes, according to Zhou.

The WWF has been participating in these investigations since 1980 and aims for the work to help in protection of other wild species. In 2022, the Sichuan forestry and grassland department and the WWF jointly launched an investigation into the snow leopard population in the province, Zhou noted.

"The giant panda is the most suitable animal for us to practice harmony between humankind and nature, and our work to protect the pandas can help in the construction of a global ecological civilization," Zhou said.