A new international
initiative celebrating China's Giant Panda conservation and research kicks-off
with focus on Sichuan on August 21 at Intercontinental Hotel in Sanlitun,
OutReach - August 21,
2018 - China Giant Panda International Culture Week, a new biennial
international celebration of China's 60 years of conservation efforts rescuing
the Giant Panda from the brink of extinction, launches today in Beijing with a
'Panda China-Sichuan Night' at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sanlitun.
Giant Panda with her child, who is aged only 20 days
Giant Pandas Showing Up Together at the Shenshuping Base
a Giant Panda Culture Exhibition Area, the event hosted by Sichuan Province
celebrates the preservation of the beloved icon of vulnerable species that has
been at play since establishment of Wolong National Nature Reserve in 1958.
200 guests included heads of related ministries and commissions, leaders from
the People's Government of Sichuan Province, diplomatic envoys to China and
international friends, officials from the cities, prefectures, and departments
and bureaus of Sichuan Province, well-known giant panda experts, celebrities
from the culture sector and entrepreneurs.
light-up map indicated countries where China giant pandas were sent for
international exchanges and cooperation.
and souvenirs were also awarded to ambassadors for the global promotion of
Giant Panda culture.
its eco-environmental achievements in saving the species adopted as an
"international business card" for tourism promotion, the event also
celebrated Sichuan's folk customs, culture, art and
famously spicy cuisine at a banquet with artistic performances.
Supporting cultural programmes and initiatives
include a 'Panda on the Road' interactive experience, 'Panda Diary' VR-AR
event, Sichuan Airlines Panda-themed flight, international conference and
educational exhibitions in Beijing's libraries, airports, subways, public
transportation, communities, universities and cultural centres.
The heartening story of saving the Giant Panda
is also told through photos, film, TV, virtual reality, research exhibits,
works of art and cultural and creative products at a 'Panda China-Sichuan Theme
Exhibition' open to the public from August 23-26 at The China Millennium
Monument in Beijing.
Native to south-central China, Giant Pandas
were on the brink of extinction as a result of deforestation of their natural
habitat of bamboo forest and poaching until conservation efforts began in
Releasing a new progress report on the
conservation campaign, Mr. Yang Chao, Director of the Protection Department of
China's State Forestry and Grassland Administration, said habitat protection
has since extended to 67 nature reserves through Sichuan and neighbouring
Shaanxi and Gansu -- compared to just 13 reserves in 1998.
According to latest estimates, the steadily
growing wild population has reached 1,864 individuals.
Another 518 are in captivity worldwide --
representing a "healthy, sustainable breeding population".
As the State Forestry Administration of China
continues to reinforce conservation efforts for one of the worlds' most adored
and protected rare animals, the Giant Panda is one of the few species with its
natural habitat designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sichuan Giant
Panda Sanctuaries covering seven natural reserves were inscribed onto the World
Heritage List in 2006.
Mr. Yang Chao, Director of the Protection
Department of China's State Forestry and Grassland Administration said 'Panda
Week' is in future scheduled on the environmental calendar as a biennial
international celebration of China's 50 years of conservation efforts saving
the icon of vulnerable species.
Director Yang said the Giant Panda has also
become a beloved cultural envoy representing friendly Chinese foreign exchanges
and global environmental cooperation.
Gifts of giant pandas to foreign zoos marked
some of the first cultural exchanges between China and the western world in the
1970s -- known as "panda diplomacy".
Research and breeding has since extended
worldwide to 22 zoos in 17 countries including the United States, Japan,
Austria, Thailand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Malaysia, Belgium,
South Korea, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Finland, Germany, Canada, Spain and
Continuing this theme as a global ambassador,
'Chinese Giant Panda International Cultural Week' extends a philosophy of
"peace, development, cooperation and mutually beneficial
relationships" to the world.
Director Yang added: "After much hard work and
effort, conservation efforts have yielded significant results in multiple
avenues. Saving the Giant Panda has served as a benchmark for respecting
China's natural environment."
In 2017, a newly-amended Law of the People's
Republic of China on the Protection of Wildlife further strengthened protection
of endangered species such as the Giant Panda by reinforcing measures to
preserve natural forests and build protective areas for wildlife and plants.
Giant Panda habitats are some of the most
biologically diverse in the world, with panda conservation benefiting the
entire eco-system of reserves, preserving more than 8,000 species of wild
animals and plants.
"To preserve the panda and its natural habitat
is to reap all of the ecological, societal and economic benefits associated
with it," Director Yang said.
The general public increasingly recognizes and
respects China's natural environment as a "true, invaluable national
While strengthening protection and preservation
of wild Giant Pandas, research centres including the Chengdu Research Base of
Giant Panda Breeding and Shanxi Louguantai Giant Panda Rescue Center continue
advancing scientific research into breeding in captivity.
As well as loss of habitat, the Giant Panda's
survival has been additionally hindered by a curious lack of libido, brief
breeding season, low fertility and poor survival rate of cubs.
China has so far bred 63 Giant Panda cubs
through artificial insemination, with 58 surviving. "By the end of 2017, the
captive Giant Panda population reached 518, achieving basic self-sustainment,"
As a result of conservation success, the
International Union for Conservation of Nature reclassified the species in 2016
from endangered -- meaning threatened with extinction -- to
'conservational-reliant vulnerable', indicating positive population recovery
with conservation support.
China is also now embarking on creating a Giant
Panda National Park three times the size of Yellowstone National Park in the US
protecting 70% of its habitat and 86% of the wild population.
The future of the Giant Panda now seems safely
assured, albeit with continued conservation help.
'China Giant Panda International Culture Week'
is formally launched at the China Millennium Monument in Beijing on August 23,
joined by United Nations officials including Mr. Tu Ruihe, China's
representative on the United Nations Environment Programme, foreign envoys and
representatives of the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) which has adopted the
panda as its symbol, and experts and scholars in panda conservation research.
About the Giant Panda
to south-central China, the
Giant Panda was on the brink of extinction from deforestation of its natural
habitat of bamboo forest and poaching until conservation efforts formally began
in 1958 with the establishment of Wolong National Nature Reserve
protection has since extended to 67 nature reserves through Sichuan and
neighbouring Shaanxi and Gansu --
compared to just 13 reserves in 1998.
population estimates vary, with latest estimates of steady growth reaching 1,864
individuals along with 518 in
captivity worldwide -- representing a healthy, sustainable breeding population.
As a result of
conservation success, the species has been reclassified since 2016 from
endangered to 'conservational-reliant vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Forestry Administration of China continues to
reinforce conservation efforts for one of the world's most adored and protected
rare animals, the Giant Panda is one of the few species with its natural
habitat designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries
covering seven natural reserves were inscribed onto the World Heritage List in
is now embarking on creating a Giant Panda National Park protecting 70% of its
habitat and 86% of the wild population by amalgamating and extending reserves
in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu.
The park will cover 27,134 square
kilometres, three times the area of Yellowstone National Park in the US.
three provinces, it aims to encourage migration of the species to strengthen
its gene pool.
As most of
the area is mountainous where residents are poor, it will also enable local
governments to alleviate poverty.
A fund of at
least 10 billion yuan (US$1.57 billion) will finance a variety of poverty
alleviation projects from 2018 to 2023. The programme includes
financial assistance, charity foundation, disaster relief, community education,
tourism development and ecological construction.
Qumu Shiha, head of a national park working group, called the initiative a "big
step to building a moderately well-off society" in the region.
"It will help mobilise the efforts of the whole society into protecting giant
pandas, promoting harmony between nature and humans, and exploring a new model
to combining environmental protection, financing, poverty reduction and charity
the vision as a "model for ecological development and social development