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China's endangered animals make a comeback

Endangered animals in China, including the giant panda and rare crested ibis, are making a comeback due to enlarged habitats and improved ecosystems.
PTI | By Agence France-Presse, Beijing
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2005 05:53 PM IST

Endangered animals in China, including the giant panda and rare crested ibis, are making a comeback due to enlarged habitats and improved ecosystems, state media said Thursday.

"Some rare and endangered species of wildlife have multiplied, including the Chinese alligator and crested ibis," Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Forestry Administration (SFA), was quoted by the China Daily as saying.

He told a meeting Wednesday that shrinking habitats caused by worsening local ecosystems had more or less been controlled following China's rehabilitation of forestry resources since the 1990s.

The number of giant pandas, one of the world's most endangered species, increased by 40 percent to 1,596 over the number recorded before 2000, Zhou said, referring to the latest SFA survey.

The number of crested ibis, a bird related to the heron of which there were only seven known in the world at one point, had leapt to 740, said Lei Jiafu, SFA's deputy director.

Thanks to protective efforts, the number of Eld's deer, found only in south China's Hainan island, also rose to 1,600 last year from just 26 in 1975, China Daily said.

Ecosystem protection programs have also helped to replenish China's flora.

Of China's 189 rare and extremely endangered species of wild plants, 71 percent have been stabilized, Zhou said.

Arborvitae, an endangered species of plant which has tailed off for more than 100 years, has been rediscovered in the remote Daba Mountains in southwest China's Chongqing municipality.

So far, forestry authorities have put the distribution areas of 130 wild plants and the habitats for more than 300 wild animals under protection, according to statistics released by the SFA, the paper said.

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