If you love giant pandas (who doesn’t?), then you’ll be happy to hear this bit of news: the Chinese government is on the verge of creating an expanded panda refuge that will span 10,476 square miles. That’s nearly triple the size of Yellowstone.
The proposed Giant Panda National Park—whose final plan will likely be finalized in fall 2019—will be created in China’s Sichuan Province, home to more than 80 percent of wild pandas. The majority of it is not “new”—it brings together dozens of established panda reserves and other protected areas containing thousands of plant and animal species, many of them threatened or endangered.
The park is the latest bit of good news for the panda: The most recent census, released in 2015, estimated a total wild population of 1,864 bears (not including cubs), up from a low of around 1,200 in the 1980s.