Jasper National Park News

Jasper and Elk Island National Parks twinned with Giant Panda National Park

Canadians know that quality of life today and their economic success tomorrow rest on protecting Canada’s nature, parks and wild spaces ensuring a healthy environment for future generations of Canadians. Protected areas are one of Canada’s most treasured resources, for which we are internationally recognized.

Last week, a twinning agreement between Canada’s Jasper and Elk Island National Parks and China’s Giant Panda National Park was announced. This twinning is the result of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between Parks Canada and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration. Canada’s parks system is internationally recognized and we have been pleased to receive several Chinese delegations interested in studying it.

Twinning will promote bilateral cooperation and exchanges for the mutual benefit of all three parks, which have an important role in habitat protection and the conservation of iconic species. In the late 19th century, plains bison were on the brink of extinction, but thanks, in significant measure, to the conservation efforts of Parks Canada and Elk Island National Park, the species is returning to the wild. Similarly, Giant Pandas were under threat of extinction in the latter part of the 20th century but as a result of China’s dedication to conservation the Giant Panda population is on the way to recovery.

The Memorandum of Understanding focuses on the establishment, management and promotion of protected areas in both countries. It will further the sharing of information and best practices related to mutual topics of interest such as: national park system planning, policy and legislation, ecological monitoring and reporting, visitor experience, sustainable tourism, and responsible economic development in and around parks. 

2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism – a time for Canada and China to strengthen the people-to-people ties that connect our nations. This year has provided an opportunity to highlight the best of both countries and help Canada grow its tourism sector.

Jasper National Park was selected for twinning with Giant Panda National Park as it is one of Canada’s most iconic national parks and plays an important role in large landscape conservation and ecological connectivity, which are also critical for Giant Panda National Park.

Giant Panda National Park of China, officially launched as a pilot project by the Chinese government in January 2017, extends across Sichuan, Shanxi and Gansu Provinces, including Minshan, Qionglaishan, Daxiangling and Qinling Mountains, with a total area of 27,100 square kilometers. It protects a variety of ecosystems such as glaciers, rivers, forests and meadows, as well as rare and endangered wildlife species such as giant pandas, golden monkeys, clouded leopards, crested ibis, Chinese yew and Chinese dove tree. In 2006, Sichuan Giant Panda habitat (including Wolong Nature Reserve which is within the Giant Panda National Park pilot area) was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.