Beijing: The World Wildlife Fund said on Thursday it planned to spend 40 million yuan (5.9 million dollars) over the next three years to increase the number of giant panda reserves in China.
The environmental group also plans to build "wildlife corridors" between the 60-plus reserves to enable the pandas to move around more freely, WWF China representative Dermot O'Gorman told.
"The only way we are going to protect the long-term security of the giant panda is to ensure that the existing habitat remains of high quality," he said.
O'Gorman said WWF will try to work with local governments to reduce the impact of tourism, highways and other infrastructure on panda habitats, as well as expand a scientific monitoring system to cover all the reserves.
There are nearly 1,600 pandas living in the wild, more than three-quarters of them in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Pandas also are found in northwestern Gansu province and northern Shaanxi province.
Another 290 giant pandas are in captive-breeding programmes in China.
First Published: Friday, January 15, 2010, 15:44