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: To catch a panda

Related Stories

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, ...

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.

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.

Recommended for you

'Hog-nosed rat' discovered in Indonesia

October 6, 2015

Researchers working in Indonesia have discovered a new species of mammal called the hog-nosed rat, aptly named after its features, that scientists said they had never been seen before.

Ancestors of land plants were wired to make the leap to shore

October 5, 2015

When the algal ancestor of modern land plants first succeeded in making the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting ...

Stress in adolescence prepares rats for future challenges

October 5, 2015

Rats exposed to frequent physical, social, and predatory stress during adolescence solved problems and foraged more efficiently under high-threat conditions in adulthood compared with rats that developed without stress, according ...


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.