The Red Panda Conservation Research Center Opened as Part of Sichuan Province Forestry Department
On the morning of April 28, 2012, the Red Panda Conservation Research Center was officially opened at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. An inauguration ceremony was also held for the opening of the new Red Panda Nursery. The newly founded Red Panda Conservation Center is a part of the Sichuan Province Forestry Department.
Representatives attending the inauguration ceremony at the Chengdu Panda Base are Mr. Jiang Chu, the vice-minister of the Sichuan Province Forestry Department, Mr Gu Haijun, the vice-chief of the Wild Animal Protection Station of Sichuan Province, Mr. Li Jian, the deputy director of Chengdu Forestry and Garden Bureau, Mr. Zhu Shang, the section chief of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection Department, Gan Keguang, a consultant, and Dr. Zhang Zhihe, the director of the Chengdu Panda Base, as well as many other guests.
During the ceremony, Mr. Jiangchu and Dr, Zhang Zhihe spoke about their hopes and plans for the new Red Panda Conservation Research Center. Later, the representatives gathered together to cut the ribbon for the new Red Panda Nursery, and unveil the plaque for the “Red Panda Conservation Research Center of the Sichuan Province Forestry Department”.
After the ceremony, 20 red pandas were moved into the newly built area.
Representatives attending the ceremony.
Mr. Jiang Chu, the vice-minister of the Sichuan Province Forestry Department, making a speech.
Dr. Zhang Zhihe, the director of Chengdu Panda Base, making a speech.
Representatives cutting the ribbon for the new Red Panda Nursery.
Red Pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are an endangered species endemic to the mountains of China, Nepal, Bhutan, India and Burma. Sichuan province in China has a large population of red pandas. Although red pandas are protected in China and in Sichuan, their numbers continue to decline due to habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, and human activities. Most of the Sichuan red pandas are living in small isolated groups; their prospects are not optimistic. Red pandas are also threatened by infectious diseases like Distemper and by parasitic diseases. All of these diseases have a high mortality rate.
To protect the red panda species from extinction, a joint conservation effort must be made. Part of this is the Red Panda Conservation Research Center that has been established by the Sichuan Province Forestry Department.
The inauguration ceremony at the Chengdu Panda Base.
Red pandas in their new home at the Chengdu Panda Base.
Red pandas in their new enclosure.
A climbing structure inside the red pandas’ new enclosure.
The red panda nursery.
Once the Red Panda Research Center has been completed, research into the breeding, conservation genetics, disease control, and ecology of red pandas will be carried out gradually and systematically. The knowledge gained from this process will be used to increase the red panda population. The goal of the Red Panda Research Center is to increase the existing captive population from 64 individuals to 100 in the next 3 to 5 years. Once the captive population reaches 100, the population should have greater genetic diversity, and be self-sustaining. At the same time, the platform that the Red Panda Research Center will create will attract first-class research institutions and experts at home and abroad to Sichuan for the study of the red pandas.
All in all, the Red Panda Research Center will contribute significantly to the conservation of the red panda, provide scientific support for the conservation of the red panda and other endangered species in Sichuan, and will explore new ways for the creation of a sustainable eco-friendly economy in Sichuan.