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Our Mission
The panda trust is the only organisation where all funds are directed specifically towards panda conservation, protecting the habitat of the giant panda, and increasing their numbers in the wild.
This is no easy task...

At present, half of the remaining 1000 or so wild panda exist in unprotected forest. Although protected by statute, enforcement of this protection is all but impossible. This leaves a full 50% of the remaining wild giant panda population at serious risk from irresponsible logging units, agricultural encroachment and poachers (panda skins can sell for up to US$200,000 outside China). In the long-term new reserves must be established: where possible, these new areas should form a bridge between two or more existing reserves, producing a ‘super-reserve’ in which pandas can move freely. Unfortunately, even within established reserves there is a major problem. Recent surveys have revealed that most of the forest has been degraded by illegal tree felling. It now exists as small islands of woodland in a sea of agriculture, further divided by building works and roads. This means that the pandas are reduced to tiny populations (usually no more than 10 animals), confined to these woodland islands, with no possibility of migration between these areas. Such small panda groups are not viable: in-breeding and random accident mean that, long-term, these populations are doomed. And, given the fact that every panda in the wild is trapped in such conditions, unless a solution is found, the giant panda will become extinct in the wild.

The Need for Support
There is an urgent need to confer reserve status upon all forests that are home to panda. Even more pressing is the need to connect the small islands of forest within reserves, allowing the giant panda to move freely between these areas, increasing outbreeding and the viability of populations.
Parallel with this, enforcement of the ‘no-logging’ and ‘no-hunting’ regulations must be strengthened. This requires an increase in ‘ranger’ numbers within the reserves, along with better training for the individual rangers. Presently, many rangers are low-paid, and lack equipment and even uniforms that would help build esprit de corps and the confidence to tackle logging and poaching problems head-on.
Ironically, there are areas of forest, ideal as panda habitat, from which the species has been extirpated sometime in the past. While such areas appear perfect for reintroducing the panda, (using animals born to the increasingly-successful captive breeding effort by Chinese scientists), there is one major problem. To date, there has not been a successful reintroduction of a single giant panda into the wild. So, along with the protection of existing wild panda habitat, and increasing the access of pandas to new blood-lines, methods must also be found that will allow the large number of captive-bred juvenile pandas presently held in zoos and research establishments to be returned to the wild.

The Projects
Short Term (2000-2002)
Uniforms & Equipment.
The Panda Trust is funding the provision of the following equipment for rangers at Wolong, China’s biggest giant panda reserve:
uniforms (caps, jackets and trousers in waterproof DPM). Boots, belts and rucksacs, Video camera, Radio telephones, Courses to educate the rangers.

Medium Term (2000-2005)
Green Corridors.
The planting of 'green corridors' to link woodland 'islands' with small panda populations. The corridors should be 0.5km wide and reafforested with native tree species and bamboo. Barriers such as rivers will be bridged using artificial logs. It has been calculated that only a 1 percent exchange of genetic material per generation will maintain viability in most panda populations, a this project is regarded with high priority by the Panda Trust. A recent survey of giant panda needs has identified fifteen green corridors, with seven of these areas being designated the highest priority. The Panda trust will provide funds for an initial planting in one of these areas, in the region between Zhengde and Pitiao in the Qionglai Mountains in Wolong Reserve. Once the technique is
proved, two further projects are planned, at Longcaoping in Shaanxi Province, and Mupi-Muzuo in Sichuan Province.
Development of successful reintroduction techniques.
To date, not a single giant panda has been successfully reintroduced into the wild (even translocation of animals have failed to achieve success). This is now the major challenge for the captive breeding effort, which now produces on average 7 panda infants each year, most of whom survive to adulthood. Unless techniques to reintroduce these animals into the wild are found they will be doomed to live out their lives in captivity, and will contribute nothing to increasing the number of genuinely wild panda. The panda trust will fund two separate reintroduction experiments:
a.    The release of two-year-old captive pandas in the Shiqiaohe valley of Tangjiahe reserve (there are very few panda here, but plenty of        bamboo with a simple enough distribution to make its exploitation straightforward without the need of a 'foster-mother'). The pandas        will be fitted withradio-collars so that they can be recaptured easily should they get into trouble.
b.    An attempt to foster an 8-month old panda onto a (non-breeding) female. If successful, cub and foster-mother will be released together,        each fitted with a 'breakaway' radio collar so that, if the infant is abandoned, it can easily be rescued.

Long Term (2000-2020)
China's own National Conservation Management Plan for the giant Panda calls for the establishment of fourteen new reserves, adding almost a half a million hectares of protected panda habitat. For example, Fengtongzhai and Wolong reserves are to linked with Shuanghe, Huangshuihe and Anzihe reserves, thereby protecting the entire panda habitat of the Qionglai
Mountains, home to a quarter of the world's wild panda. The Panda Trust will give financial, survey and research help with the establishment of these additional areas.

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