Top Picks

Ya'an finding the balance between humans and pandas

Updated: Apr 19, 2022 China Daily Print
Share - WeChat
Giant pandas rest in their habitats in Ya'an, Sichuan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Since French missionary Armand David officially discovered giant pandas in 1869, the city of Ya'an in Southwest China's Sichuan province — the hometown and cradle of giant pandas — has been under the global spotlight for its endeavors in wildlife preservation and balanced development between humans and nature.

Over the years, Ya'an has continued to carry out giant panda population protection, habitat restoration and ecological corridor construction, aiming to build a strong green barrier in safeguarding the natural environment along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, a total of 18 giant pandas from Ya'an have gone abroad as "peace messengers" to countries and regions including Japan, Britain and France. The prototype of the World Wide Fund for Nature emblem flag "Ji Ji" and the mascot of the 1990 Beijing Asian Games "Pan Pan" were based on giant pandas from Ya'an.

Located at a latitude of 30 degrees north, Ya'an is a natural paradise where mountains, canyons, waterfalls and clouds are a frequent sight.

Some 39.45 percent of Ya'an's administrative divisions are classified as China's Giant Panda National Park, covering an area of 5,936 square kilometers.

The Ya'an area of the park involves five counties of Baoxing, Tianquan, Lushan, Yingjing and Shimian, 22 townships and 70 administrative villages.

Ya'an has the largest area, the highest proportion of pandas, the most complete mountain system and the most counties in the park.

Chen Wu, deputy director of the Ya'an management branch of the Giant Panda National Park, said that this area is an important corridor connecting the giant panda habitats in the Qionglai and Daxiangling mountains, and a key area connecting the Xiaoxiangling-Liangshan mountains.

"It is of great significance to realizing the genetic exchange between isolated populations of giant pandas."

On Oct 12, 2021, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity was held in Kunming, Yunnan province.

China announced the official establishment of the first batch of national parks of Sanjiangyuan, Giant Panda, Siberian Tiger and Leopard, Hainan Tropical Rainforest and Wuyi Mountain.

In 2017, Ya'an launched a pilot program of the Giant Panda National Park system. In January 2019, the Ya'an management branch of the Giant Panda National Park was unveiled.

In the pilot over the past five years, Ya'an has made remarkable efforts in constructing ecological corridors for habitat restoration, wild animal reintroduction bases and entrance communities.

The city has also rejuvenated panda populations and protected rare animals and plants.

The Ya'an area of the Giant Panda National Park has restored 14,120 hectares of giant panda habitat, established three giant panda habitat corridors, and protected four small populations of rare wild plants and seven rare animal species.

Conservation research work has significantly increased cross-regional giant panda activities in the area.

The released giant panda Zhang Xiang was monitored from Liziping, Shimian county, and entered Yele township, Mianning county, through the Tuowu Mountain Ecological Corridor.

The monitoring of the Niba Mountain Ecological Corridor revealed activity of the giant panda mother and her cub.

Staff members have also photographed the same mother and cub in the Fengtongzhai area at the Giant Panda National Park.

The construction of reintroduction bases and population rejuvenation are also top priorities of the conservation work.

Now Ya'an has built two reintroduction bases for giant pandas. Among them, Liziping National Nature Reserve is the first base for the reintroduction of giant pandas in the country.

Sichuan Daxiangling Nature Reserve is the largest reintroduction base of giant pandas in the country.

"Eight giant pandas including Luxin and Taotao have been successfully released," Chen said.

In recent years, relying on a sound ecological environment foundation, Ya'an has been promoting the green transformation of industry as well.

As the southern entrance community of the Giant Panda National Park, in Fazhan village, Longcanggou town, Yingjing county has built a new ecological community integrating species protection, popular science recreation, scientific research, community development and ecotourism.

The village has opened more than 60 homestays, which have become a new method for villagers to increase their incomes.

"At present, 65 giant panda homestays have been built and are profitable in the Longcanggou area, receiving 400,000 tourists a year. In 2020, the average annual operating income of the homestays reached more than 329,000 yuan ($51,675)," said Han Dehong, deputy Party secretary of the area.

It is expected that in 2022, the annual operating income of giant panda homestays will exceed 1 million yuan.

Copyright©2024 China Daily. All rights reserved.


京公网安备 11010502032503号 京公网安备 11010502032503号