A view of the Panda paradise of the rare wild animals rescue and breeding research center in northwest China's Shaanxi Province, August 22, 2017.
China will build a giant panda national park spanning three provinces, according to a pilot scheme aimed at protecting the endangered animal recently approved by the State Council.
The park, with an area of 27,134 square kilometers, will unite more than 80 fragmented habitats scattered in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu. It will have a core area, protecting pandas in 67 current reserves as well as another 8,000 endangered animals and plants.
Once completed, pandas will roam freely between the current far-flung habitats.
Sichuan Province plans to donate 20,100 square kilometers of land, according to a Global Times report. To build the national park, at least 170,000 people in Sichuan will have to relocate to establish the core protection area, the Xinhua News Agency said.
Like many other endangered species, pandas are suffering habitat shrinking and fragmentation due to natural disasters, climate change and expanding human activities.
As of 2014, China had built 67 giant panda reserves, which covers a total area of 33,600 square kilometers. Data from China's State Forestry Administration show the number of wild giant pandas in China was 1,864 by the end of 2013.