Giant Panda Reserves

Project Description

This project seeks to determine the distribution of large mammal species within and around giant panda nature reserves, and help local reserves establish a large mammal monitoring system using camera-trapping. The forest habitat among the surveyed four mountain ranges (Qinling, Minshan, Qionglai, and Xiangling Mountains) harbor approximately 89% of the wild giant panda population, and are within a biodiversity hotspot of global significance. The study area has a rugged terrain with a broad elevation range, varying from 1190 to 4450 m. The landscapes have been significantly altered by agriculture, commercial logging, highway construction, and other human activities in the past decades. The project is led by Peking University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

giant panda

Project Design

The greater monitoring project is ongoing. The SI Wild photos are taken from the 2002 to 2014 survey, within the Sichuan and Shaanxi Provinces, China, including multiple nature reserves and timber areas. DeerCam (film), CamTrakker (both film and digital), TM-1/2 (film, made in China), TCB-1000 (digital, made in China), and Reconyx PC800(digital, made in USA) camera models were used. Presently, and in conjunction with other projects, 1422 camera stations and approximately 45,000 camera nights have been recorded, and will continue to increase. Giant panda and sympatric species (Asiatic black bear, takin, etc.) were specifically targeted based on identified variables that may affect their occupancy probabilities. These features include: elevation, slope, forest composition, forest age, understory vegetation, road, residences, farmlands, and grazing.

1x1 km2 sampling grids were created in and around nature reserves. At the beginning of each sampling period (30-45 days), one survey location was placed in each randomly selected grid at the best location identified by field staff. Cameras were set 500m apart from nearby survey locations.