A giant panda rests at Wolong National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province,April 23,2021.(Xinhua/Xu Yongzheng)
CHENGDU,Dec.12(Xinhua)--Over the past summer season,snow leopards were photographed by five different infrared cameras in Pingwu County,Sichuan Province,at an altitude of about 4,200 meters,surprising many wildlife scientists.
The footage confirmed that the predator's distribution in China's southwestern mountains has expanded eastward,said Yang Yi,a senior communications officer of the World Wildlife Fund.
Pingwu in northern Sichuan is famous for being home to a large number of wild giant pandas.The fourth national survey of giant pandas in 2015 found that there were 1,864 wild giant pandas in China,including 335 in Pingwu.
As a result,over half of Pingwu's land area has been demarcated into the Giant Panda National Park,which has a planned area of 22,000 square km across Sichuan,Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.It is among five national parks China designated in October,after a four-year trial run.
Through shutting down mines,restoring vegetation,banning illegal poaching and other measures,protection efforts in the park have not only made wild giant pandas less endangered,but are turning the region a sanctuary for other rare species.
Some 87 percent of the Giant Panda National Park lies within Sichuan,where more than 8,000 species of animals and plants coinhabit,such as red pandas and golden snub-nosed monkeys,forming one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.
The province has utilized infrared cameras,satellites,drones as well as rangers to form an integrated protection system.
Thousands of rangers have been working year-round on more than 900 patrol routes.Over the past four years,they have had some 1,600 encounters with rare animals.
"In Pingwu County alone,over 4,100 species of plants and 1,900 species of animals have benefitted from the protection of giant pandas,"said Jiang Shiwei,head of the forestry and grassland bureau of the county.
For example,the number of takin(budorcas taxicolor),a rare goat-antelope under the country's top-level protection,has increased by about 10 percent over the past decade in the county,said Jiang.
"The protection of giant pandas benefits the whole ecosystem.In addition to providing products to humans,an ecosystem also has supporting,cleaning and other functions that are vital for the sustainable development of human society,"said Zhang Qian,a staff member of the wildlife protection office of the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Forestry and Grassland.■