China just announced that it has secured over $1.6 billion in funding for a massive panda reserve that will help the animals recover their numbers in the wild. The Giant Panda National Park will cover 10,000 square miles – twice as big as Yosemite Park and three times as big as Yellowstone – of mountainous wilderness where pandas can breed and live without human encroachment.
The park will be constructed in the Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. All of the 2,000 wild pandas in the world live in these three provinces, with 80% in Sichuan. Pandas in the different provinces are currently isolated, but creating a park will allow them to join together and, hopefully, reproduce.
China announced plans for the park last year, but the project didn’t have the funding to make it a reality. The Bank of China and the Sichuan Department of Forestry joined together to make the park happen over the next five years.