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The Lushan earthquake and the giant panda: impacts and conservation



Earthquakes not only result in a great loss of human life and property, but also have profound effects on the Earth's biodiversity. The Lushan earthquake occurred on 20 Apr 2013, with a magnitude of 7.0 and an intensity of 9.0 degrees. A distance of 17.0 km from its epicenter to the nearest distribution site of giant pandas recorded in the Third National Survey was determined. Making use of research on the Wenchuan earthquake (with a magnitude of 8.0), which occurred approximately 5 years ago, we briefly analyze the impacts of the Lushan earthquake on giant pandas and their habitat. An earthquake may interrupt ongoing behaviors of giant pandas and may also cause injury or death. In addition, an earthquake can damage conservation facilities for pandas, and result in further habitat fragmentation and degradation. However, from a historical point of view, the impacts of human activities on giant pandas and their habitat may, in fact, far outweigh those of natural disasters such as earthquakes. Measures taken to promote habitat restoration and conservation network reconstruction in earthquake-affected areas should be based on requirements of giant pandas, not those of humans.