China panda population stable: report

September 19, 2009
A panda is seen playing with a ball at the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda, in the Wolong Nature Reserve in China's southwestern Sichuan province. China's wild panda population has remained stable despite last year's Sichuan earthquake that damaged key areas of the endangered species' habitat, according to state press.

China's wild panda population has remained stable despite last year's Sichuan earthquake that damaged key areas of the endangered species' habitat, state press said Saturday.

A recent survey in Sichuan province concluded that the deadly May 12 tremor did not lead to significant fatalities in the panda population, the Chengdu Evening News said.

"The panda has a strong capacity to adapt, we have not found any cases of pandas dying because of the earthquake," the paper quoted Yang Xuyu, an expert involved with the survey, as saying.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake was the strongest to hit China in decades and left more than 87,000 people dead or missing, while devastating cities and towns.

Remote sensing of the region found that only about three percent of the panda's habitat in southwestern Sichuan province was damaged to differing degrees by the quake, the report said.

However, in an area near the epicentre where 35 wild pandas live, more than 37 percent of the habitat was damaged, including significant areas of bamboo forests, the animal's main food, the report said.

The damage could threaten the survivability of the group of pandas collectively known as Minshan Zone Group B, the report said.

There are about 1,590 living in the wild around China, mostly in Sichuan, northern Shaanxi and northwestern Gansu provinces. A total of 180 have been bred in captivity, according to earlier reports.

In addition to environmental constraints, the animals' notoriously low libidos have frustrated efforts to boost their numbers.

In a recent report issued by the World Wildlife Fund, the conservation group warned that the could soon die out as rapid economic development is infringing on its way of life.

The report said that the pandas' habitat is being split into smaller patches, preventing them from roaming freely to look for partners and in turn endangering their .

"If the panda cannot mate with those from other habitats, it may face extinction within two to three generations," said Fan Zhiyong, Beijing-based species programme director for WWF.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Pandas could be extinct in 2-3 generations: report

Related Stories

Pandas could be extinct in 2-3 generations: report

August 17, 2009

China's giant panda could be extinct in just two to three generations as rapid economic development is infringing on its way of life, state media said on Monday, citing an expert at conservation group WWF.

China announces first panda from frozen sperm

July 24, 2009

(AP) -- China announced the first successful birth of a panda cub from artificial insemination using frozen sperm, giving a new option for the famously unfertile endangered species, officials said Friday.

To catch a panda

December 10, 2007

Michigan State University’s panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas. Now a graduate student is working to catch crucial data that’s black, ...

Recommended for you

Blueprint for shape in ancient land plants

December 9, 2016

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge have unlocked the secrets of shape in the most ancient of land plants using time-lapse imaging, growth analysis and computer modelling.

Protein disrupts infectious biofilms

December 8, 2016

Many infectious pathogens are difficult to treat because they develop into biofilms, layers of metabolically active but slowly growing bacteria embedded in a protective layer of slime, which are inherently more resistant ...

An anti-CRISPR for gene editing

December 8, 2016

Researchers have discovered a way to program cells to inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 activity. "Anti-CRISPR" proteins had previously been isolated from viruses that infect bacteria, but now University of Toronto and University of Massachusetts ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.