The Chinese government is planning to create a huge new national park covering the country’s main giant panda habitats.
Xinhua reports that the new park will cover more than 27,000km², three times the size of Yellowstone National Park in the US and almost 10 times the size of Hong Kong. It will link up 67 existing wild panda reserves across six isolated mountain ranges in western China’s Sichuan and Gansu provinces.
An estimated 1,864 pandas currently live in the wild, and the Chinese government is aiming to increase this number to 2,000 by 2025. As well as the giant panda, the national park will help protect 8,000 other endangered animals and plants, Xinhua said.
Authorities in Sichuan province are also reportedly planning to create a “panda tourist trail” by integrating expeditions into the new national park with visits to the existing panda research and breeding centres.