Proposed national park not just to protect pandas
THE NATIONAL FORESTRY and Grassland Administration is soliciting public opinions on its plan of establishing the first national park for giant pandas. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:
The planned national park for giant pandas, if finished, will cover an area of 27,134 square kilometers and stretch across the borders of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
To establish such a national park is necessary for the protection of giant pandas. China has been making great efforts to protect giant pandas both by improving the wild environments for them and breeding them in protection centers.
According to official data, by the end of 2013, the number of wild giant pandas nationwide was 1,864, almost five times those in the breeding centers, which number 375.
The final goal of giant panda protection is to let them survive independently as a species in the wild. For that purpose, China has always been rendering efforts toward releasing housed pandas into the wild. By Oct 11, the giant panda protection center in Wolong natural protection area, Sichuan province, had already released 11 giant pandas into the wild, of which nine have survived. That number is a breakthrough, but still too small compared with the total number.
Besides, the death of two released pandas is a pity because the number of giant pandas is so small that each one counts.
To minimize the death rate of the pandas that get released into the wild, the key lies in properly improving the natural environment, so that each panda can survive.
Although they do eat bamboo, giant pandas are carnivorous and as powerful as polar bears and they each need an area of tens of sq kms. The planned region for the national park includes mountains, valleys and plains, and there are hundreds of other species such as wolves, foxes, and rabbits living inside the planned national park, and all these species together form a complex food chain.
In order for giant panda to survive, the best strategy is to let ecology of the whole region prosper.
The region is also near the sources of several rivers. When the ecology of the whole region prospers, that will in turn help to ensure a good environment for the upper reaches of these rivers near their source, which will benefit the ecology of their whole drainage region. The protection of giant pandas therefore will help protection of the whole ecosystem.