The giant panda, the world’s flagship species and China’s national treasure, is a “living fossil” among the Earth’s endemic animals. By the end of 2013, only 1,864 wild individuals had lived in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi in China. Giant panda habitat in the wilderness has been severely fragmented, with about 40% of the population living unprotected outside the nature reserves. The number of individuals in more than 40 populations is relatively small; a risk of local extinction still looms large.
Since 2007 we have been undertaking community-based panda habitat conservation. Our work involves partnering with the nearby communities to carry out monitoring and patrol and exploring eco-friendly/sustainable community development programs. In addition, we also work with the local governments and conservation departments to inform and advise on conservation policies and project management measures. Based on modern scientific methods and local traditional culture, we are dedicated to protecting the forest and river ecosystem where pandas live, and have progressed in species status research, community conservation practice and policy advocacy. In the meantime, we have begun to pay attention to the living conditions of large and medium-sized carnivores such as the snow leopard, clouded leopard and the Asian golden cat, and to promote sustainable community development around their habitats.
In 2018, we continued our partnership with the villages of Guanba (in Pingwu County, Mianyang City, Sichuan Province), Xiong’er (in Lixian County, Aba Prefecture, Sichuan Province), Luoyigou (in Qingchuan County, Guangyuan City, Sichuan Province), Liziba (in Bikou Town, Wenxian County, Longnan City, Gansu Province) and Chaoyang (in Maoping Town, Yangxian County, Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province). More than 150 square kilometers of land were effectively protected by local communities under our initiatives.