Parks set to step up pro­tec­tion of pan­das, big cats

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­

China is set to es­tab­lish a na­tional park sys­tem to beef up the pro­tec­tion of gi­ant pan­das, Siberian tigers and Amur leop­ards, according to a de­ci­sion made by the coun­try’s lead­ing group for over­all re­form.

A pi­lot pro­gram for a na­tional park sys­tem will help in­crease the in­tegrity, con­nec­tiv­ity and co­or­di­na­tion of the habi­tats of the three en­dan­gered animal species in China, according to a state­ment re­leased af­ter a meet­ing of the Cen­tral Lead­ing Group for Com­pre­hen­sively Deep­en­ing Re­forms.

The meet­ing on Monday, presided over by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, re­viewed and passed two pi­lot plans for na­tional parks for the three species, the state­ment said.

The gi­ant panda, Siberian tiger and Amur leop­ard, among the world’s most en­dan­gered species, have been put un­der top na­tional pro­tec­tion. There are fewer than 70 Amur leop­ards in the world, most of which live in Rus­sia's Far East, the north­east­ern prov­inces of China and the north­ern part of the Korean Penin­sula.

The state­ment said that the coun­try will pro­mote the over­all pro­tec­tion and sys­tem­atic restora­tion of the habi­tats of the three species to en­sure their sta­ble breed­ing.

The coun­try will co­or­di­nate the de­vel­op­ment of the na­tional park sys­tem and the en­dan­gered animal re­serves and make break­throughs in es­tab­lish­ing fis­cal sup­port and im­prov­ing the le­gal sys­tem.

Yao Si­dan, head of the De­part­ment of Forestry in Sichuan prov­ince, which has the coun­try’s largest gi­ant panda habi­tat ar­eas, said in Au­gust that the con­struc­tion of rail­way lines, roads and power trans­mis­sion lines has re­sulted in the frag­men­ta­tion of panda re­serves.

“The frag­men­ta­tion in­creases the level of iso­la­tion for panda pop­u­la­tions and in­creases the odds of ex­tinc­tion for small, iso­lated panda groups,” he said.

For other top­ics that were dis­cussed at the meet­ing, such as State-as­sets su­per­vi­sion, copy­right pro­tec­tion and ser­vices for the el­derly, go to chi­

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