Return to Prosperity: The Revival of Rare Species in China


In October, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will celebrate its 72nd anniversary. From 1949 to 2021, China experienced rapid development not only economically and technologically, but also in terms of ecological restoration. Many rare species have been successfully rescued from the threat of extinction.

Nicknamed “China’s national treasure,” the giant panda is one of the most famous species to be saved from the brink of extinction. The population was once large, but threatened by habitat shrinkage and low birth rates for reasons such as food shortage, the giant panda quickly became rare in the wild.

To save it, the government of the PRC decided to create a national nature reserve in Sichuan province (southwest China), one of the habitats of wild pandas. Wolong National Nature Reserve, for example, was established with an initial size of around 20,000 hectares in 1963 and was expanded in 1975 to around 200,000 hectares. China has also cooperated with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to ensure adequate protection of the species.

In July 2021, thanks to the joint efforts of government and organizations, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that the giant panda was no longer endangered in the country. According to one report, the population of giant pandas in the wild increased from 1,114 to 1,864 between the 1980s and 2021.

Other endangered animals, such as the crested ibis, milu deer and Chinese alligator, have also seen their populations increase. By publishing and revising laws and regulations regarding the conservation status of the country’s wildlife, establishing different levels of nature reserves, and raising public awareness of wildlife protection, China has gradually brought many rare species back to the brink. of extinction. Its goal is to build a society where humans and wildlife can thrive together.

(Cover and long image designed by Li Wenyi of CGTN)

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