PHOTO: The Chinese government has approved plans for a 10,500 square mile Giant Panda National Park. (Photo via Flickr/Gil_Penney)
China’s Sichuan Province, which is home to most of the nation’s famed Giant Pandas is about to get a massive national park to help protect its panda population.
Plans for proposed park, which were recently approved by the central government, say it will encompass nearly 10,500 square miles (27,134 square kilometers) and encompass three provinces: Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
To put the scale into perspective, that is slightly smaller than America’s two largest national parks, Wrangell St. Elias (13,005 square miles) and Gates of the Arctic (11,756) in Alaska. But, it is nearly twice the size of Death Valley, the largest national park in the continental United States. It is roughly three times the size of Yellowstone.
The new giant panda park is so big, that it will displace roughly 170,000 humans, including some 32,000 miners and forest workers, whose labors are further threatening the habitat of the endangered panda population.
According to the CNTO, there are 33 groups of pandas living in the wild in China, most of them in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces in the northwest and the Sichuan province in the southwest. The Qinling mountains in the Shaanxi mountains is home to 298 wild pandas. When the park is complete, the mountain region will be subdivided into several zones, including protected areas dedicated to habitat restoration as well as visitor-accessible areas.
For more information, visit www.cnto.org.