Reserve stops farmers from harvesting bamboo shoots

Updated: 2014-04-25 03:39

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Reserve stops farmers from harvesting bamboo shoots
Six-month-old Longlong enjoys her breakfast of bamboo at Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo / China Daily]

Reserve stops farmers from harvesting bamboo shoots
Panda Xing Bao on official presentation at Madrid Zoo

Reserve stops farmers from harvesting bamboo shoots
Panda visit wows Obama family on last day of tour

Life should soon become easier for a group of wild pandas who have had to compete with people for their beloved supply of bamboo shoots.

The Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan province has launched patrols to stop local farmers from harvesting bamboo shoots — the main food for pandas during their mating season.

Covering 200,000 hectares, the reserve yields less than 1.5 million kilograms of shoots a year.

About 150 wild pandas live on the reserve, each consuming 1.5 to 2.5 kg of shoots a day.

"A quarter of the shoots grow into bamboo, and more than half are eaten by insects and other wild animals such as gnus, deer, boars and black bears," Zhang Hemin, administrative bureau chief of the reserve, said on Thursday.

He said that collecting too many shoots will damage the ecological balance, and people would also disturb wild pandas during the mating season — a precious time as pandas are not the most lustful animals.

Nearly 5,000 farmers live in Wolong, and collecting bamboo shoots used to be a good way to boost their incomes.

To discourage them from collecting bamboo shoots, the administrative bureau is offering each household more than 10,000 yuan ($1,610) in subsidies a year, Zhang said.

Thanks to the subsidy, few farmers collect bamboo shoots in the reserve, he said.

Two villages close to the reserve used to collect 150,000 kilograms of bamboo shoots a year, but that is down below 5,000 kg now, Zhang said.