Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Centre
Revival of Rare Animal Populations in the Louguantai Center
The Louguantai Wild Animal Breeding and Protection Centre (Shaanxi Wild Animal Conservation Research Centre SWARC) is located 76 km from Xi'an. It was founded in 1987. This is one of the most famous zoological centers in China, located in Shaanxi province. Its area exceeds 140 hectares. The center is divided into several sectors to treat, breed, feed and study animals.
The Louguantai Center manages rare and endangered species of China, listed in the International Red Book. There are the giant panda, red panda or firefox, golden monkey, black bear, leopard, giant salamander and other faunal forms of China. However, outside of China, Louguantai is best known as the Center for the breeding of the crested ibises.
The crested ibis (Nipponia nippon) also known as the Japanese ibis is one of the world's rarest birds. This elegant, a heron-like, bird has a snow-white plumage, hooked beak, red cheeks and legs. The ibis has a magnificent long tuft of hair on its head; thereby the bird got its name. The ancient Chinese called the crested ibis the “bird of auspiciousness”. For many centuries China has been considered ibis as a symbol of happiness and good luck.
As late as the XIX century, the crested ibis were common for many countries of South-East Asia: China, Japan, etc., It affected the Russian Far East. However, in the XX century due to massive deforestation and wetland drainage, as well as ibis hunting, as the invaders of the fields and due to its beautiful long white breeding plumage, the crested ibis began to peter, and today their population numbers as few as a hundred.
Shaanxi Province is the only natural habitat for ibis in China. The bird is under a state protection, the image of ibis is stamped on the Chinese 5-yuan bronze coins of 1997.
Crested ibises are monogamous and live in pairs, never parting until the end of life; the Louguantai Center also keeps them in pairs in spacious enclosures. In captivity ibises reproduce kind very seldom, so in 2002, the center's specialists launched a program for artificial breeding of ibises and their adaptation to survive in the wild. Every year Louguantai breeds approximately from 20 to 40 individuals. To date, their population numbers about 300 crested ibises.
The Center also keeps about 20 giant pandas. The Center employees have also made attempts of their artificial breeding, which were crowned with the first success in 2009, when the 6-year-old panda Lucian gave birth to twins.
It is also interesting to observe in the center of golden monkeys. These beautiful , fiery red animals with blue faces and snub-nosed noses are on the verge of extinction. In Louguantae care of 26 adult monkeys and young.
The center not only learn and rare breed animals, but also assist the wild animals in distress. So over the years, the experts of the center has been rescued and treated more than 300 animals, 160 animals were returned to the residence, 659 still grown in the center.