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Qinling giant panda population rises to 345 on conservation efforts

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The number of a giant panda subspecies living in China's Qinling Mountains has risen to 345 after protection efforts spanning dozens of years.

Discovered in 1958, the Qinling giant panda is a subspecies recognized in 2005. It has a smaller and rounder skull, shorter snout and less fur than the more familiar Sichuan subspecies, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Authorities in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province set up a panda breeding base in 1987 to protect the Qinling giant panda's dwindling population.

The panda used to find it hard to be estrous and cubs could rarely survive in the wild. Researchers solved the problem and helped increase its wild population, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

The Qinling giant panda lives in six separated habitats without connections, Wang Weifeng, an official with Shaanxi natural reserve, told CCTV.

"Panda's living area has decreased. We are planting bamboos to help recover the habitat," Wang said.

Fragmentation of habitat was a major threat to the chubby mammal and some regional populations were at risk, according to the website of National Forestry and Grassland Administration.

A research center to study the Qinling giant panda was also established on June 13 in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. It focuses on five research fields: conservation biology, genetics, physiology, disease prevention and nutrition, Shaanxi Daily reported.

Shaanxi currently has 22 artificially bred giant pandas, according to data provided by a Xinhua report in June.

Guo Daozhong, deputy head of Shaanxi forestry department, said the number of the Qinling giant panda was 274 according to the third giant panda survey conducted between 1999 to 2002, Xinhua reported in Setember 2017.

Global Times



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