Never-before-seen camera trap images from China show giant pandas in their remote mountain habitat as well as several other fascinating species—such as the Asiatic black bear, red panda and leopard cat—that share the iconic bear’s mountainous home.
Since 2011 more than 100 infra-red camera traps set up in six nature reserves captured these images. WWF works with partners from the local forestry authority in this monitoring effort under the giant panda conservation program.
The camera trap studies will now aid WWF’s conservation efforts through a better understanding of animal activities, the impact of human actions on the species, and management of nature reserves.
Many of the species in this study are found in the mountainous bamboo forests in the upper reach Yangtze River Basin in Southwest China. Spanning thousands of miles through the heart of China, this unique system of rivers, lakes, wetlands and mountain forests harbors rich biodiversity and wildlife. This fertile river basin also provides millions of people with food, shelter, freshwater and their livelihoods.
Rapid population growth and aggressive exploitation of natural resources is shrinking what remains of the natural forests that once covered the region. Infrastructure and agricultural development is leading to degradation of the forests and fragmentation of panda habitats.
Helping pandas and people
Today giant pandas are found in a patchwork of more than 60 nature reserves in China. WWF’s focus was solely on panda conservation when we began our work in China in 1981. Our approach evolved with decades of monitoring and research.
The giant panda has been a conservation priority for WWF since we were founded in 1961. WWF’s panda projects in China currently focus on:
- Promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, including sustainable agriculture
- Demonstrating innovative and effective approaches to forest conservation and wetlands restoration
- Working with local communities as well as government on long-term environmental stewardship and alternative livelihoods such as promoting locally grown and globally marketed Sichuan pepper.
See Camera Trap Footage of: