International research body launched for giant panda protection

16:58, June 07, 2011      

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An international research center was launched Tuesday in southwest China's Sichuan Province to improve research efforts directed at the protection of giant pandas and other endangered species.

The International Center for Giant Panda Conservation Biology is a joint project sponsored by the Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base and the U.S.-based Global Cause Foundation.

The center will employ both domestic and international resources, technologies and funds to tackle major threats that endanger the survival and development of giant pandas and other endangered species, said Professor Zhang Zhihe, the director of the Chengdu base.

Zhang said the center is a "new step" in international cooperation on giant panda protection.

"It will provide an international platform for researchers dedicated to the conservation of endangered animals and biodiversity," Zhang said.

The Global Cause Foundation will introduce leading biologists and environmentalists from across the world to the conservation program, including noted ecologist James Spotila, who is also the foundation's vice president.

The Global Cause Foundation, based in Fairfax, Virginia, is a nonprofit organization that works to help developing nations boost economic growth while simultaneously combating the effects of global warming.

China has reported success in giant panda breeding in recent years, but pandas and many other rare animals are still facing habitat destruction, natural disasters, human interference, diseases and pollution.

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