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China builds research lab for rare animal protection

(People's Daily Online)    13:10, June 20, 2018

A national-level laboratory was established in China's Giant Panda National Park on June 19, to enhance research on the protection of rare animals in the area, cctv.com reported.

It is the first national lab created to study ways to better protect giant pandas along with 144 other species, such as the golden snub-nosed monkey and snow leopard.

Scientists aim to decipher why these animals are on the verge of extinction and how to save them within the next three years, said Zhang Hemin, deputy head of the lab. Zhang explained that he and his fellow researchers will also provide technical support to the sustainable use of animal and plant resources and the construction of nature reserves within the park.

"We have decided to study certain problems such as how they breed, how to control disease, releasing them into the wild and other situations," Zhang said.

The lab will try to apply techniques used when breeding pandas to other rare species, said Zhang Zhizhong, head of the lab.

The Giant Panda National Park covers 27,134 square kilometers across China's Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. According to new statistics, there are currently 1,387 wild and 401 captive pandas in Sichuan alone, laying a solid foundation for international research and cooperation when it comes to giant pandas.

The lab will open to domestic and international research institutes. According to Zhang Zhizhong, the lab will cooperate with many Chinese colleges including Zhejiang University and Sichuan University, as well as those abroad such as the University of Edinburgh, to study giant pandas and other rare animals. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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