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China calls for protection of panda natural habitat
Updated: 2005-03-30 10:56

China has applied to the United Nations to make giant pandas' natural habitat in southwestern Sichuan province a world heritage area to help protect the endangered species, state press reported.

China will implant high-tech identification tags into all its captive pandas in an effort to better monitor the population and prevent inbreeding, the Xinhua news agency says. [Reuters]

What's a cell phone? They make movies, play music, pack GPS units, and will do more. They're also a new virus magnet.

The giant pandas are predominantly found in the Wolong, Siguniang and Jiajinshan areas of the province, near the cities of Chengdu and Yaan.

The far western Ganzi and Aba regions of the province that border Tibet are also part of their homeland.

The rarity of the bamboo-chomping bears, along with the variety and beauty of the area's landscape and ecology, were cited as reasons for the application to the UN, the Shanghai Morning Post said.

More than 1,500 giant pandas live wild in China, with Sichuan home to 76 percent of them, according to the State Forestry Administration.

The shy animals continue to be under threat from dwindling supplies of their main food source and poachers, mining and logging.

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