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Pandas thrive in WWF-backed program in NW China
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17:03, April 16, 2008

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The number of giant pandas has increased steadily at a World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-financed program based in the southern mountains of Gansu Province, northwest China, the provincial forestry department said.

The panda population has increased from around 100 to 120 since the department and the WWF began a program called "Protection of Giant Pandas and Their Habitats at Mount Minshan" in 2005, the department said.

Thanks to WWF participation, the number of giant panda reserves around Mount Minshan has doubled to six and the protected area has expanded from 308,000 hectares to 708,600 ha. All six reserves are now connected in a complete stretch, the department said.

On Monday, a WWF representative signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the provincial department for further cooperation this year.

Under the MOU, the WWF and the provincial office will continue patrols around the pandas' domain and conduct further experiments with the sustainable use of resources by human communities adjacent to the nature reserve.

The WWF will provide the Gansu provincial department of forestry with equipment and capital worth 2 million yuan (about 273,973 U.S. dollars), including 15 infrared digital cameras.


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