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Giant Panda Conservation

1. What is China doing to help save pandas?

The giant panda is considered a national treasure in China, and it comes under the highest category of legal protection. The government has established a network of nature reserves protecting half of the wild panda population. The government also declared a ban on logging in 1998, which has relieved one of the biggest threats to the species. Although the reason for the ban was overall forest protection, not just panda conservation, it means that all panda habitat --- inside and outside nature reserves --- is now protected from logging. The logging ban also opens up the possibility of restoring degraded or lost forest habitat for pandas. China also has a large captive breeding program, the eventual goal of which is to re-introduce captive pandas into the wild.

2. How many panda reserves are there?

There are 33 panda reserves. Five are in Shaanxi Province, two are in Gansu Province, and the rest are in Sichuan Province. New reserves will probably be established in the next few years.

3. Which is the largest panda reserve?

The largest reserve is the Baishuijiang Reserve in Gansu (213,750 hectares).

4. Do all wild pandas live in panda reserves?

A little more than half of giant pandas live inside the 33 reserves.

5.What does the 1998 logging ban mean for the giant panda?

The biggest threat to the survival of the wild panda is habitat loss and deterioration. The logging ban addresses this threat and greatly increases the giant panda chance for long-term survival.

6. Has the logging ban been implemented in the entire panda habitat?

Yes, the logging ban has been implemented in all panda habitat areas (Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces).

7. Has the logging ban had any negative impacts on giant pandas?

There may have been some unintended negative impacts, as people who used to work in logging looked for other ways to make money. In some panda reserves, illegal activities like poaching and collection of medicinal plants has increased.

8. Can cloning save the giant panda?

Endangered species conservation means the conservation of a natural species population and its habitat. Cloning cannot solve any of the problems a panda faces in the wild. Protecting wild panda populations and their habitat is still the most efficient, direct, and cost-effective way to save the giant panda.