Volume 44 Issue 5
Sep.  2023
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Ying-Jie Ma, Meng Wang, Xiao-Yu Hu, Xiao-Dong Gu, Yu-Mei Li, Fu-Wen Wei, Yong-Gang Nie. Identifying priority protection areas of key food resources of the giant panda. Zoological Research, 2023, 44(5): 860-866. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.526
Citation: Ying-Jie Ma, Meng Wang, Xiao-Yu Hu, Xiao-Dong Gu, Yu-Mei Li, Fu-Wen Wei, Yong-Gang Nie. Identifying priority protection areas of key food resources of the giant panda. Zoological Research, 2023, 44(5): 860-866. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.526

Identifying priority protection areas of key food resources of the giant panda

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2022.526
#Authors contributed equally to this work
Funds:  This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (32071496, 32225033) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA23080500, QYZDB-SSW-SMC047)
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: nieyg@ioz.ac.cn
  • Received Date: 2023-04-06
  • Accepted Date: 2023-07-31
  • Published Online: 2023-08-01
  • Publish Date: 2023-09-18
  • Animals that live in seasonal environments adjust their reproduction cycle to optimize seasonal forage quality. Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are seasonal altitudinal migrants that feed on bamboo shoots and leaves with different nutritional quality. However, the importance of bamboo shoots to giant pandas, especially small and isolated populations, is not fully appreciated. Here, we explored whether mating time of giant pandas is shaped by bamboo shoot phenology. We also assessed the intensity of ongoing bamboo shoot harvesting by local communities in 42 giant panda reserves based on questionnaire surveys. Varying intensity and protection levels of bamboo shoot harvesting were found. From these data, we developed a priority ranking scheme of protection areas for this key food resource. Our study showed that pandas time their mating behavior to coincide with bamboo shoot phenology due to the high nutritional demands associated with mating and pregnancy. We also found that bamboo shoots were not well protected in many places. Liangshan, Daxiangling, and Xiaoxiangling, containing the most isolated panda populations, were identified as the areas with the most urgent need of protection. Furthermore, equal attention should be paid to the QiongL-B population, as this region holds considerable potential to serve as a corridor between the Minshan and Qionglai populations. To address the challenges posed by bamboo shoot harvesting, we recommend establishing more practical bamboo shoot management policies, increasing public awareness of bamboo shoot protection, and providing alternative sources of income for local communities.
  • #Authors contributed equally to this work
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