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The Giant Panda

SnowPanda Innovation, Ähtäri Zoo and Species Conservation Work

The activities of the SERC network co-operation always include the element of species conservation and environmental education. It is the custom of SnowPanda to participate in sustainable development and to support biodiversity.

Our partner in this is Ähtäri Zoo Oy, whose international species conservation work is an important part of their operations. A goal of Ähtäri zoo is to maintain endangered species and their genome cultivation. Co-operation between zoos has helped to preserve a great number of species that would have otherwise died out into extinction.

An example of international species conservation work in practice can be seen in the transfer of animals between zoos. In Europe the transfer of animals occurs between zoos that are members of EAZA. With the help of animal transfers and research work, Europe’s and the world’s zoos together preserve the vitality of the animal kingdom.

Education and education work are a significant part of species conservation work and of Ähtäri Zoo’s activities. A goal of the education work is above all to get people to appreciate the species, which has genotype that is over a thousand-years-old.

The Protection of Chinese Giant Pandas as a part of Ähtäri Zoo’s Activities

Ähtäri Zoo and the Chinese forestry commission have signed a 15-year agreement concerning participation in the protection of giant pandas and the Qionglai-Minshan forestry area. Ähtäri Zoo will finance nature protection projects in the panda mountains for the duration of the agreement.

An important status is given to operations targeting the safeguarding of the vitality of pandas’ natural population, such as the establishment of new conservation areas, the restoration and afforestation of areas where pandas have been forced to leave or have died out, as living environments suitable for pandas and training conservation areas’ personnel. The programme also returns pandas born in zoos to areas where the panda population has died out or where the gene pool is too narrow. China has managed to slightly increase the natural population, which is a result of the long-term efforts of conservation professionals to safeguard the protection of the species by combining zoo conservation and strengthening the natural population.

Another co-operation project is the support of the Dujiangyan panda hospital operations and participation in panda veterinary and animal protection matters. The wild animal hospital in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, is a ground-breaking institution in China. which treats all injured and sick pandas found in the wild, where cures are developed, and the natural panda population is inoculated against threatening infectious diseases. Experts from Ähtäri are involved in developing Dujiangyan activities.

A third co-operation project for Ähtäri Zoo and other Finnish partners is their joint programme of research into pandas and their home forests. Since the 1990s, Finland has been involved in the Chinese forestry commission’s and Chinese forestry academy’s projects concerning research of panda mountain forests.