July 27, 2010
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Researchers in China have discovered that isolated populations of giant pandas are genetically different. Physical barriers such as areas lacking an adequate bamboo supply separate the population, making inbreeding a possibility.
The scientists recovered 192 fecal samples, which came from 53 unique genotypes, indicating a fragmentation of the giant panda population.
Wildlife corridors of sufficent bamboo forest are required for the continued survival of the panda, one of the most endangered animals in the world.
A wildlife corridor is a protected strip of land that allows wildlife to move (or migrate) from one area to another, linking habitat patches. The corridor allows animals to roam freely without coming into conflict with human development, and to locate other members of their species.
With the increased development in the world’s wild areas, wildlife corridors are vital to the survival of all wildlife. Setting aside large blocks of protected land for parks may look good on paper, but unless the animals have a way of traveling to the area, the parks serve only to save plants, not the wildlife.