China to create huge national park for giant pandas
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China to create huge national park for giant pandas

THE CHINESE provincial government of Sichuan has unveiled plans to build a Giant Panda National Park, slated to span more than 27,000 square kilometres.

At least 10 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) has been secured from the Bank of China to fund the project over the next five years, which is expected to develop a park three times the size of Yellowstone National Park in the United States, reported the China Daily on Thursday.

The park will protect wild pandas across Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, while the funding will help alleviate poverty for residents living within the park and improve infrastructure, the China Daily reported a park planning official as saying.

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State news agency Xinhua reported that it will help the endangered species “move around and strengthen their gene pool”, and increase the ease of mobility for pandas living in isolated areas of the mountains.

Projects that will be funded include collaborations between the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and local governments in the 19 counties included by the national park.

Last month, China’s environment ministry said it had approved plans by 15 provinces and regions to draw up “red lines” to keep large areas of its territory, including wetlands, forests, national parks and protected natures zones, off-limits to economic development.

Additional reporting from Reuters.