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Endangered animal populations boosted
China Daily
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Endangered animal populations boosted

China, one of the world's most biodiverse nations, has seen a steady rise in populations of rare and endangered animal and plant species thanks to the implementation of an "intelligent" protection system, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration announced on 3rd of March, which was World Wildlife Day.

It said various departments and organizations across the country have been using high-tech tools like infrared cameras, big data analysis and artificial intelligence for species recognition in recent years.

These measures have played a role in boosting populations of animals like giant pandas, Asian elephants and Tibetan antelopes.

"Intelligent systems have strengthened the standardized management of endangered species' import and export, improving the efficiency of daily patrols, monitoring and protection," the administration said. "They have also helped combat illegal wildlife trade online."

According to the administration, the wild giant panda population has grown from around 1,100 in the 1980s to nearly 1,900. The wild Asian elephant population has grown from over 150 to more than 300, and the Tibetan antelope population, under 70,000 in the late 1990s, now stands at over 300,000.

It also highlighted the success stories of several plant species. The wild population of Alsophila spinulosa — the flying spider-monkey tree fern — has risen from 234,000 in the 1990s to 385,000, while the critically endangered Abies beshanzuensis — Baishan fir — once down to just three individuals, now boasts over 4,000 thanks to cultivation and reintroduction efforts.

Mianyang in Sichuan province, a core area for giant pandas, is home to 418 wild giant pandas, representing over 22 percent of the national population.

Deng Fei, director of Mianyang's forestry bureau, told China Central Television that Mianyang has invested millions of yuan since last year in constructing a "sky-ground-human" integrated ecological intelligent monitoring network system. It has collected over 10,000 pieces of monitoring information on wildlife, contributing significantly to the protection of giant pandas.

Dafeng Milu National Nature Reserve in Jiangsu province is the world's largest milu deer reserve, with its milu deer population accounting for nearly 70 percent of the global total. The reserve now employs a "smart reserve" platform, enabling wildlife protection to transition from ground patrols to "cloud patrols", which means using electronic devices to monitor the movement of deer herds and promptly relay information to on-site patrol personnel.

"This is like giving our patrol personnel 'eagle eyes' and 'bat ears', saving a significant amount of patrol time," Chen Jie, a staff member at the reserve, told CCTV.

World Wildlife Day, designated by the UN in 2013, is celebrated annually on March 3. This year's global theme was "Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet", while China's national theme focused on "Building an Intelligent Protection System for Wildlife".

China DailyShen Yi

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