Gansu panda zones are upgraded to State status

Two protection zones for giant pandas in Gansu province have been upgraded to State-level zones, the provincial forestry authority said over the weekend.

Gansu is home to 132 giant pandas, according to a study conducted in 2015. It is one of three major habitats for the endangered animal in China.

Despite the rising number of giant pandas in the region, their survival is at risk due to habitat depletion, which limits their mobility and puts their fertility in jeopardy in the long run.

Such fragmentation is caused by both natural issues and disruption by human activities, such as roads, hydropower stations and high-voltage cables and towers. Giant pandas in the province have been divided into four groups, two of which are facing elevated survival risks, the study found.

One of the two protection zones boasts large quantities of bamboo, making it ideal for the pandas. The second is also home to other endangered species, including golden monkeys and takins.