Xi’an, China — Two isolated giant panda sub-populations that were fragmented by a national highway 23 years ago will be reunited by a new effort to create an ecological corridor of bamboo forest.
The World Wildlife Fund’s China office is stepping in with the Chinese Forestry Department of Shaanxi Province to reconnect the fragmented habitats of approximately 20 giant pandas in Mount Tianhuashan, and about 110 in Mount Xinglongling. The National Road 108 that, when constructed, separated the two panda sub-populations has recently been abandoned along a 13km section of the highway following the completion of a new tunnel. . .
About 215 acres (87 ha) of bamboo forest are being planted above the tunnel, to provide an opportunity for the Tianhuashan and Xinglongling giant panda sub-populations to reunite.
"We hope the green bamboo corridor can connect the panda populations separated by the highway, free the animal from human and traffic disturbance, and bring new hope to the conservation of wild giant pandas in Qinling," said Dermot O’Gorman, WWF China acting country representative.
In 2000, the area along the abandoned road was listed by the province as one of the key ecological corridors for giant pandas in Qinling. It was put under the State’s protection in 2002, and at the same time Guanyinshan reserve was established. In 2005, WWF carried out a socio-economic survey, identifying the threats to giant pandas in the area. Later that year, the global conservation organization cooperated with the Guanyinshan Nature Reserve to begin restoring the panda’s habitat.
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