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Pandas live mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, a formidable task for which they use their enlarged wrist bones that function as opposable thumbs. A newborn panda is about the size of a stick of butter—about 1/900th the size of its mother—but can grow to up to 330 pounds as an adult. These bears are tree climbers despite their bulk. Pandas play a crucial role in the bamboo forests where they roam by spreading seeds and facilitating growth of vegetation. In the Yangtze Basin where pandas live, the forests are home to a stunning array of wildlife such as dwarf blue sheep, multicolored pheasants and other endangered species, including the golden monkey, takin and crested ibis. The panda’s habitat is at the geographic and economic heart of China, home to millions of people. By making this area more sustainable, we are also helping to increase the quality of life of local populations.
Pandas bring huge economic benefits to local communities through ecotourism. Pandas play a crucial role in the bamboo forests where they roam by spreading seeds and facilitating growth of vegetation. In the Yangtze Basin where pandas live, the forests are home to a stunning array of wildlife such as dwarf blue sheep, multicolored pheasantother endangered species, including the golden monkey, takin and crested ibis. We should do everything we can to save the giant panda because we are the ones that have driven it to the edge of extinction. And because we can. But pandas also play a crucial role in China’s bamboo forests by spreading seeds and helping the vegetation to grow. So by saving pandas, we will also be saving so much more.
We will be helping to protect not only these unique forests but also the wealth of species that live in them, such as dwarf blue sheep and beautiful multi-coloured pheasants. The panda’s habitat is also important for the livelihoods of local communities, who use it for food, income, fuel for cooking and heating, and medicine. And for people across the country. The panda’s mountains form the watersheds for both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, which are the economic heart of China – home to hundreds of millions of people. Economic benefits derived from these critical basins include tourism, subsistence fisheries and agriculture, transport, hydropower and water resources.
So by protecting pandas, we’re helping to safeguard the broader environment, which so many people and animals depend on. Pandas themselves are als. They are the national symbol of China and generate significant economic benefits for local communities through ecotourism and other activities. But due to expanding human populations and development, the species is now restricted to around 20 isolated patches of bamboo forest in six mountain ranges in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinceSince habitat loss is the most serious threat to the panda, establishing new reserves and extending existing ones are crucial to its survival.
After a significant increase in recent years, China now boasts a network of 67 panda reserves, which safeguard more than 66% of the giant pandas in the wild and almost 54% of their existing habitat. The Chinese government,o developed bamboo corridors to link isolated pockets of forest, allowing the pandas within them to move to new areas, find more food and meet more potential breeding mates.
Spreading through the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu, the Minshan mountains run along the north of the Great Sichuan plain and to the east of the Tibetan Plateau, and form part of one of the most important watersheds in China. They aregiant pandas with PingWu county boasting the highest density of wild pandas in the world. But the Minshan mountains’ magnificent forests are a critical habitat not only for giant pandas but also for a wealth of other species, including the dwarf blue sheep and beautiful multi-coloured pheasants.
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