Panda tourism in pipeline
http://english.ourpanda.com/ 2013-06-26 16:35:27
Baoxing County, in southwestern Sichuan Province, plans to spend 180 million yuan to build a giant panda protection and tourism zone.
With a designated area of 1,200 square kilometers, the Baoxing Jiajin Mountain Giant Panda Ecological Tourism Zone will comprise the state-level Fengtongzhai giant panda nature reserve, a safari park, a station for panda observation and a state forest park.
An official of the nature reserve said that expansion of protection zones would play a vital role in avoiding inbreeding and helping increase the number of the rare creatures.
The world's first giant panda was discovered in Baoxing in 1869. Currently, more than 140 giant pandas live in the Fengtongzhai Nature Reserve, accounting for more than 10 percent of the national total.
The official said that Baoxing had invested more than 2.5 million yuan in building a nature reserve for pandas, which covers 400 sq km. Meanwhile in the provincial capital of Chengdu, Xiongbang, the world's first panda born in winter, looked robust and comfy as it greeted visitors at the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center.
Wrapping up its two-month quarantine, the baby panda born in the Adventure World Park Zoo in Japan on December 17, 2001, has adapted perfectly to its diet and habitat of its new home in China, said panda expert Yu Jianqiu.
"We kept a regular check on its physical conditions, food taking and dejection during the quarantine period. The panda is healthy and putting on weight," Yu said.
Weighing 86 kilograms, Xiongbang stays in a specially-made shed with a bedroom, living room and playground.
Hemmed in by bamboo groves, the abode is equipped with advanced sterilization equipment on both entrance and exit. A veteran panda keeper is taking care of the panda, said Director Zhang Zhihe of the research center.
Born to Yongming and Meimei, a panda couple leased by China to the Adventure World Park Zoo in western Japan's Wakayama prefecture in 1994 and 2000, the baby panda was the first offspring born by the artificially-bred pandas in winter. Pandas usually give birth in the summer or fall.
According to Chinese laws, offsprings of Chinese giant pandas born in overseas countries should return to China before they are sexually mature, normally at five or six years old.
"It's time the panda joined China's giant panda breeding plan since it is well adjusted to its new life," Zhang said.
Forty-two giant pandas now live in the research center, the only professional giant panda research institute in China. Located in the northern outskirts of Chengdu, the center was established in 1987 to mimic the natural living environment of wild pandas.
With a history dating back to the dinosaur era, pandas are on the verge of extinction.
There are only approximately 1,590 pandas worldwide, mainly distributed in China's Sichuan and Shanxi provinces, and 160 live in captivity.
The central and provincial governments have invested 160 million yuan into panda protection programs since 1992.