By this time, much of the rest of humanity may well have given up on pandas as worthless pieces of fur not worth saving, but China sure hasn’t. They are now planning an entire national park just for the adorably helpless critters.
The plan was just completed and submitted to Beijing earlier this week, so the exact location of the park is not yet known. Xinhua reports that officials from the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi worked together on the proposal and said that the giant national park will cover areas in all three provinces. So, uh, hereish?
Thanks to the millions and millions of dollars spent researching pandas, watching them have sex and masturbate, the animal has managed to avoid extinction and has been staging something of a comeback. A 2014 survey estimated that the number of pandas in the wild has grown by 16.5% in the last decade to at least 1,864, mostly in Sichuan province.
This panda park is actually just one part of an noteworthy effort by China to completely redesign its system of national parks. Instead of a haphazard system of national reserves and provincial parks, China is planning over 20 national parks in its latest five-year plan. To kick off this effort, state media has announced the development of four national parks that will be centered around a single endangered species: pandas, Asian elephants, Tibetan antelope, and tigers and leopards.
Earlier this week, reporter Kathleen McLaughlin published an article in Science Magazine about the not-yet-named 15,000-squarekilometer national park in Jilin province near the North Korean and Russian borders that will be tasked with saving China’s dwindling population of Siberian tigers and Amur leopards. The park has not yet been formally recognized either, but its organizers hope that they will soon be able to turn 30,000 loggers, hunters and poachers into park rangers and conservation workers.
Anyway, here’s a preview of what you might see at China’s proposed panda park: