The conservation efforts conducted in China in order to protect the giant panda ended up benefiting other endangered animals including different species of mammals, birds and amphibians. A study lead by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, also highlighted areas that required more observance.
Stuart L. Pimm, a professor of conservation ecology at Duke University stated that: “China has spectacular protected areas with exceptional numbers of species found nowhere else on Earth. The giant panda is the most famous of these – a global conservation icon. We wanted to know whether it serves as a protective umbrella for other species.” Surprisingly the giant panda’s habitat overlaps with 70 percent of other forest mammals, 70 percent of forest bird species, and 31 percent of forest amphibian species that can only be found in mainland China, added Pimm.
Because the conservation efforts proved to be extremely good, researchers at the Duke University suggested other areas that should implement rules in order to protect the endangered species that live there.
In the study, researchers took information about the distribution of the animals in south-western China and then created a collaborative database. The animal species were selected specifically from China, because their population was considerably lower there and they often were often faced with the biggest risk of extinction.
In order to create the database, the researchers used existing maps which highlighted the problematic areas in China where species that were on the verge of extinction lived.
After they highlighted the problematic areas, researchers then created maps with specific locations where the neglected and endangered species would have very strong chances of survival. After that, they compared the newly made maps to areas that represented favourable forest habitats. By doing these steps, they could now give a much more accurate prediction of which locations could contribute the most to the wide variety of species.
Binbin Li, a Ph.D student and lead author of the study, is of opinion that there is a lot of hope for these animals in the future. Even though the public and the government only focus their attention on protecting the giant panda, this gives researchers the opportunity to establish new protected areas, added Binbin.
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