New Chengdu Panda Reserve aims to protect declining species

Giant pandas are one of the most endangered wildlife species in the world. Only 1,800 pandas left in the wild, while 300 exist in captivity. Currently, China is racing to address this issue, starting with the Chengdu Panda Reserve. Masterplanned by international firm Sasaki, the park aims to protect pandas and accomodate economic growth in the rapidly modernising city.

Chengdu Panda Reserve
[Image: Sasaki]
Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province in south China, will house the three distinct panda destinations. In total, the reserve will span 43km. Guests will be guided by a proposed digital app – Panda Quest – that can be also experienced by outsiders, globally. An enduring goal of the Chengdu Panda Reserve is to demonstrate that pandas and humans can coexist. It also aims to show that urbanisation can assist conservation, rather than degrade it.
Chengdu Panda Reserve
[Image: Sasaki]
“Conservation efforts have multiple benefits, as pandas serve as an ‘umbrella species’ for other wildlife which indirectly benefit from the protection of their shared habitat,” state Sasaki’s website. “Sasaki’s plan for the reserve provides a framework for the protection of the species through a robust expansion plan focused on conservation, education, and research—with the ultimate objective of improving their ability to thrive in the wild.”
Chengdu Panda Reserve
[Image: Sasaki]
The reserve consists of Beihu Panda Park, which will feature an education centre, botanical gardens, wetlands and a sports park. The centre of the park will be the existing Chengdu Panda Base. Already drawing over three million visitors a year, the base will tripled in size and continue to breed giant pandas. The second site will be Longquanshan Panda Village, which will offer programming related to Chengdu’s food, culture and wildlife. The last proposed site is the Dujiangyan Panda Wilderness, sitting near the Tibetan plateau, where researchers can release pandas into the wild and study breeding techniques.
Chengdu Panda Reserve
[Image: Sasaki]
“With over 20 million people expected to visit the Chengdu Panda Reserve each year—a figure that surpasses current annual visitors to Disneyland—the city has a tremendous responsibility to advance its development in a manner that is mindful of protecting the panda’s habitat,” stated Sasaki.
The Chinese government’s recently affirmed ambitious plans to create a Giant Panda National Park. The park will encompass the regions of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu, making up almost 2.7 million hectares.

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