Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bamboo Corridor

Around half of the estimated thousand or so wild pandas that remain are located in nature reserves. Even within these reserves the panda is at risk because the reserve forests are now fragmented, existing as woodland "islands", each surrounded by a sea of human activity. The populations of panda marooned within these islands are nearly all tiny, often less than 10 animals. Such small populations have no long term future and as it appears that every wild panda is isolated in this way, the future of the species in the wild is bleak.

A joint project between China's Wolong Giant Panda Research Centre, the World Wildlife Fund and the Panda Trust based in the UK aims to establish corridors linking some of the reserves. Following earlier evaluations, the first bamboos have now been planted between two known panda habitats. The plan is to utlimately plant several 0.5km-wide "bamboo corridors" on degraded agricultural land between panda "islands".

Check out the animation at the WWF site which is annoyingly cute. The project gets regular press reports but that's the way it goes when you are charismatic.

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