Many goals have already been achieved by the Panda Corridor project in the mountain region of Qinling in China
Removal of artificial barriers, planting of bamboo, construction of green bridges, protection against poaching, environmental education initiatives and tourism. For 12 years now, the Panda Corridor project, launched by WWF China in collaboration with Fondazione Zegna, has been ensuring full protection for the giant panda population in the mountain region of Qinling in China, including restoration of their natural habitat, forestry management and construction of nature reserves.
In 2015, the project officially entered its second phase (ending in 2017), which is based on three pillars: continuation of giant panda protection and the development of two new programs: ecotourism and environmental education.
The main successes achieved in the first phase include, among others:
- 16.8% growth in the giant panda population, with an increase of 268 to reach a total of 1,864 animals in the area
- an 11.8% increase in the protected area to the current 2,577,000 hectares
- removal of 17 km of artificial barriers that were restricting the pandas’ freedom of movement and access to water sources
- planting of 80 hectares of bamboo
- organization of training for 150 university students a year to become rangers
- removal of 70 traps, thus protecting pandas from poachers during the mating season
- campaign to raise awareness of environmental issues amongst 2,500 families in the four villages along the boundary of the protected area
- construction of green bridges enabling the animals to cross the Dong-Liang road linking the two villages of Donghetai and Liangfengya without risk
- visits by over 6,000 tourists
Phase 2 opened with a pleasant surprise: the presence of a leopard in the protected area, an excellent indicator of the good state of health of the ecosystem as a whole. In line with the three pillars defined for the phase ending in 2017, the project will focus mainly on two activities: the development of ecotourism on the basis of the Nature Class Program at Heihe Forest Park, which aims to attract tourists visiting the region, and the environmental education of tourists and WWF China staff at the WWF-Zegna Guanyinshan Nature School, currently under construction and scheduled to open in summer 2017.
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