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A target with a natural outcome

XINHUA | Updated: 2023-01-19 07:49
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Angsai valley in Sanjiangyuan National Park, Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province. LYU XUELI/XINHUA

World's largest national park system takes shape, involving local communities in the protection of wildlife and habitats

As Wang Jinqiang walks to work each morning, his journey is accompanied by the high-pitched calls of Hainan gibbons, wild animals whose population he is employed to track and count.

Since the start of winter, 56-year-old Wang and his colleagues have spent more than 15 days every month living in the mountains of China's southernmost tropical province of Hainan. Their task is to monitor the world's rarest primate, with a view to helping it flourish after decades of pressure from human activities.

Wang is a member of the Hainan gibbon monitoring team in the Bawangling area of the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park, one of the first five national parks established in China.

Starting in 2015, China launched 10 pilot national parks to protect the natural environment and biodiversity. In October 2021, the country officially designated five of these pilot projects as national parks, further improving the national park system.

In December 2022, it took another step, setting out a plan that envisages the creation of the world's largest national park system by 2035.

The spatial layout plan for national parks was issued jointly by several government bodies, including the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The plan includes a total of 49 candidate sites for the construction of national parks.

These candidate sites, including the five that have already been developed into national parks, cover an area of around 1.1 million square kilometers across 28 provincial-level regions. The sites were selected based on their ecological importance, unique natural landscapes and rich biodiversity, according to the plan.

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