On May 12 an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan and adjacent provinces in western China. Already the death toll has reached 12,000 with many thousands more missing and feared dead in areas still too inaccessible to reach with rescue teams. In addition, millions are now homeless due to the massive quake and the damage it caused.
Conservation International works in Sichuan province through our partner Shanshui. The area is home to the giant panda and golden monkey among other unique species. We are extremely fortunate in that no field staff were harmed in the quake. We anxiously await word from friends and partners elsewhere and Sichuan; panda reserves in Wolong and Pingwu were near the epicenter of the quake.
The people of Sichuan and western China have proven enthusiastic and able allies in Conservation International�s mission to bring human society into balance with nature. The loss to their communities and to China is incalculable. CI CEO Peter Seligmann and President Russell Mittermeier expressed condolences for the lives lost and concern for the safety of staff. As an organization, Conservation International stands ready to do everything in our power to assist in rescue efforts and help the people affected by this devastation.