China has 2,740 nature reserves

Beijing: China has 2,740 nature reserves, covering 1.47 million sq km, a State Council report said on Thursday. This includes 446 national level reserves, said the report submitted to an ongoing bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Nature reserves cover 1.42 million sq km of land or 14.8 percent of the country's land mass, with the rest taken up by marine reserves, according to the report. The first reserve was established in 1956. Eighty-nine percent of the species of state-protected wildlife and the majority of important natural relics are in nature reserves, and some rare and endangered species have seen population increases, the report showed. The giant panda population in the wild now exceeds 1,800, thus changing it from an endangered species to a vulnerable one. Populations of Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, Asian elephant, crested ibis and elk have also increased, according to the report.