Construction for a Beijing base of the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda is currently underway in the capital's Fangshan district, according to a press conference by the Information Office of Beijing Municipality on Wednesday.
The Beijing base project covers an area of about 2,000 acres, roughly the size of 187 standard soccer fields. It is expected to be completed in 2024 and will be home to 50 giant pandas.
This "home for giant pandas in Beijing" is located in Qinglong Lake Town in Fangshan district. It takes about 40 minutes to reach the town from the city's West Second Ring Road. The convenient transportation and favorable ecological environment helped the town stand out from among many candidates.
Qinglong Lake Town has been authorized as a suitable breeding place and habitat for the giant panda population in the Beijing area thanks to its superior ecology, which includes mountains, forests, a lake and grasslands, according to experts.
The choice of Qinglong Lake also corresponds to the notion of "welcoming the giant panda home."
Dong Cuiping, director of the Zhoukoudian Site Museum, said that in 1934, prehistoric archaeologist and paleontologist Pei Wenzhong found a section of the humerus of a panda that was not significantly different from the present giant panda at the Zhoukoudian Site in the Fangshan district.
The giant panda has been warmly welcomed in the capital as the news of panda Ya Ya's return to China went viral on Chinese social media platforms in April. Ya Ya, who had lived in the Memphis Zoo in the US state of Tennessee for 20 years, now enjoys her life in the Beijing Zoo.
When completed, the Beijing base will become the only giant panda research center outside of Southwest China's Sichuan Province, which is home to four giant panda bases.