China's endangered wild species see steady replenishment
A photo taken on Apr. 28, 2020, shows two crested ibises at Xiazhu Lake National Wetland Park in Deqing county of Huzhou city, east China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/VCG]
The populations of rare and endangered wild species in China experienced steady growth during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Over the past five years, China effectively protected 90% of its vegetation types and 85% of its wild animals under special protection through the establishment of nature reserves, habitat preservation, and artificial breeding, among other means, described a source from the administration.
The total number of wild and captive-bred crested ibises, a bird classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List and known as "the oriental gem," has now exceeded 4,000 worldwide. As recently as 1981, only seven known wild crested ibises existed in the entire world, in China's Shaanxi province.
Other precious and endangered animals have also seen stable population growth.
Wild giant pandas and Asian elephants, for example, now total 1,864 and 300, respectively, compared with 1,114 and 180 in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the number of wild Tibetan antelopes has rebounded to more than 300,000.
In addition to wild species protection, artificial breeding technology has also played a part in helping to bring endangered wildlife back from the brink of extinction. A total of 633 giant pandas have been born using this technology, including 258 in the past five years.
In addition, milu deer and wild horses, animals that were once extinct in the wild, both now exist in wild groups thanks to artificial breeding. Currently, China is home to 8,000 milu deer, achieving restoration of the species' population.
Reintroducing captive-bred endangered wildlife such as giant pandas, crested ibises, milu deer, and Francois' leaf monkeys to their habitats has also seen marked improvements, with release areas constantly expanding.
The country's efforts to save endangered wild plants has also seen a number of successes. Cycas revoluta, Manglietia sinica, and Abies beshanzuensis (the latter two of which were critically endangered on the IUCN Red List) are now all recovering populations in China.
At present, China boasts nearly 200 botanical gardens, which have collected and preserved over 20,000 species.
Over the past five years, China has also beefed up its efforts to crack down on illegal wildlife trade, improve laws and regulations for wildlife protection, establish early warning and monitoring systems for wildlife epidemics, and strengthen international cooperation on wildlife conservation, contributing significantly to safeguarding wildlife security and biodiversity.