Sichuan Province is home of the world-famous, rare animal-the giant panda, which live in the mountains and valleys of the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the western Sichuan Basin.
The giant panda, a symbol of auspiciousness and friendship, is recognized as a "national treasure" of China. It is reputed as the "living fossil" of fauna in the world. This species is a relict from the paleo-tropic forests of the Tertiary Era. It feeds almost exclusively on bamboo in the wild and its preferred habitat is between 2,200m to 3,200m.
Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, home to more than 30 percent of the world's highly endangered pandas, covers 924,500 hectares with seven nature reserves and nine scenic parks in the Qionglai and Jiajin Mountains.
The sanctuaries constitute the largest remaining contiguous habitat of the giant panda. They are also home to other globally endangered animals such as the red panda, the snow leopard and clouded leopard.
On July 12, 2006, the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List as a natural property at the 30th session of the UNESCO's World Heritage Committee held in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.
The nature reserves include Wolong in Wenchuan County, Fengtongzhai in Baoxing County, Siguniang Mountain in Xiaojin County, Labahe in Tianquan County, Caopo, Heishuihe in Lushan and Dayi counties, Jintang-Kongyu in Kangding County, and Caopo in Wenchuan County.
Tourists may visit the giant pandas at Chengdu Researh Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Wolong National Giant Panda Nature Reserve and Bifengxia Panda Base Research Center.