In-situ conservation means ‘on-site conservation’. It is the process of protecting endangered plants or animal species in their natural habitat.
The Chinese government is the largest agent in promoting positive changes for the Giant Panda. Other organisations, like Zoos SA, work with the government to promote in situ conservation efforts.
By mid-2005, the Chinese government had established over 50 panda reserves. This protects more than 10,400km2 and over 45% of remaining panda habitat. There are also efforts to ensure there are natural corridors between panda populations so that a healthy mixing of genes can occur.
Other conservation infrastructure includes installing communication networks in reserves, creating environmental education programs near protected areas, analysing impact of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity, and developing plans to restore degraded bamboo forests.
Environmental Education Program in Sichuan mountains, China
Conservation Ark recently sponsored an environmental education program to help with conservation of Giant Pandas in the wild.
An Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) program has been teaching local primary and secondary students of remote villages about protecting biodiversity in their backyard – the beautiful and rugged mountains of the Giant Panda Sanctuaries World Heritage Area.
Conservation Ark, together with UNESCO, sponsored threatened species posters (jpg) developed for the environmental education ‘road show’. These posters were donated to each of the seven remote schools that participated in the program, and each child - over 400 students - received a bookmark (a synopsis of the poster) to keep. These and other props, prizes, interactive games, and a panda 'role play' helped to cross the language divide and teach the students the importance of protecting species and habitat.
As these children will be the future land stewards, environmental education programs are ever-more critical for long-term conservation of these important areas.