The survival and future of giant panda are hundreds of people's concern---we admire its ability to survive through millions of years, but at the same time we cannot help but to worry about its future.
From the perspective of evolutionary history, giant panda has undergone a process of growing from a small species to big, then small again. In terms of distribution, the habitats of giant panda have withdrawed from East Asia to the joining areas of Sichuan, Ganshu and Shanxi of China. Especially in the recent half century, due to the unlimited expansion of human activities, the distribution area of has shrunk from 50 thousand square kilometers to 10 thousand, which has been cut into 20-some pieces scattered in the six mountain systems: Qingling Mountain, the Mingshan Mountain, the Qionglai Mountain, the Liangshan Mountain and the Xiangling Mountain. The total number of giant pandas in the wild is less than 1000, but they live separately in 37 counties of Sichuan, Ganshu and Shanxi. More than 80% of these pandas are in Sichuan, scattered in 32 counties of the west edge of the Sichuan Basin. There are pandas living in five counties of Chengdu: Xionglai, Dayi, Pengzhou, Chongzhou and Dujiangyan; and the nearest panda habitat, Baishui River of Pengzhou, is only 60 kilometers away from Pengzhou.
Because giant pandas are often distributed in isolated groups, they may have inbreeding, and lose the genetic diversity of the species, thereby extincting one group by another. In addition, the giant panda only eats bamboos; when the cyclical blossoming of bamboo happens, bamboo wither and pandas may die of starvation or sickness. In the 1970s and 1980s, bamboo of the Mingshan Mountain and Qionglai Mountain once have a large-scale blossoming, which caused a sharp decrease of the panda population- we still have the global panda-saving in our memory.
In order to save and protect the lovely "national treasure" of China, the giant panda, loved by people throughout the world, the Chinese government takes effective measures.
In 1957, the Third National People's Congress decided to build forest natural reserves. In 1962, the State Council ordered that it is forbidden to hunt and catch giant pandas without permission from the State Council. In 1963, the first list of natural reserves was set in China. Four of those natural reserves are set for the protection of giant pandas: Wolong Natural Reserve in Wenchuan County, Baihe Reserve in Nanping County, Wanglang Reserve in Pingwu County, and Labahe Reserve in Tianquan County. By 1988, 14 natural reserves have been set mainly to protect giant pandas, covering 6, 868 square kilometers. At present, 32 natural reserves have already been set to protect giant pandas, covering a total area of 10, 555 square kilometers, 81.2% of the giant panda's distribution area. 25 of these natural reserves are in Sichuan, covering 8, 607 square kilometers, 81.6% of the total area of all panda natural reserves. The well-known Wolong Natural Reserve, for instance, covers 2, 000 square kilometers. These measures, as we have already seen, effectively checked the human harming of giant pandas, and maintained the giant panda population in the wild.
In order to put the protection of giant pandas and other wildlife under the law, the Chinese government put the protection of rare animals and plants into the Constitution. A set of laws, like the Forest Law, The Law on Wild Animal Conservation, and the Environment Protection Law have been made and passed. In 1987, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed an amendment to the Criminal Law and it says: "smugglers of giant pandas shall have a punishment of at least a 10-year sentence and confiscation of property; under grave circumstances, life sentence or even death sentence together with a total confiscation of property shall be applied." These legislative measures have so far effectively protected giant pandas and other rare animals from human harm.
Protecting Panda and its Habitats Project