CHENGDU, July 1 (Xinhua) -- China's giant panda research base said that it has bred 12 Chinese monals, a species of pheasant as rare as the giant panda, after nearly two years of rescuing conservation.
As of the end of 2017, there were only 11 captive Chinese monals in Fengtongzhai National Nature Reserve in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The reserve, together with the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and the China West Normal University, set up a lab in 2017 to pass on experience in panda breeding to the protection of birds.
A total of 12 Chinese monals have been bred since the conservation work began, almost doubling the number of artificially-bred Chinese monals.
The newly-born seven birds this year made the number of hatched individuals and the hatching rate increase by 40 percent and 15 percent respectively from the previous year, laying a solid foundation for the stable growth of the population.
The giant panda base said in the future researchers would focus on the protection of genetic diversity, scientific breeding and hatching and disease prevention and control, aiming to establish a self-sustaining population of rare Chinese monals.
With a highly iridescent plumage, the Chinese monal is one of the largest pheasants in the world. The species is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species and is under China's highest national-level protection.
There are less than 3,000 wild Chinese monals in the world, which mainly live in mountainous areas in southwest China.