HEFEI, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- East China's Anhui Province is considering an entry ban to the core areas of a Yangtze alligator reserve to protect the rare species.
The Anhui Yangtze Alligator Reserve is the only artificial breeding base for Yangtze alligators worldwide. It had 13,000 captive alligators by the end of 2017.
According to a draft regulation issued by Anhui's Forestry Bureau, those who need to enter the core areas of the reserve to conduct scientific research must submit written applications and a work plan to administrators of the reserve, and gain approval from provincial forestry authorities.
The draft regulation has been published to solicit public opinions.
Authorities are also considering gradually removing residents from the core areas. The cleared-out area will be used for developing ecological agriculture.
Yangtze alligators, also known as Chinese alligators, live along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, the longest waterway in the country.
Threatened by human activity and shrinking habitats, there were only about 400 Yangtze alligators in the wild, according to a 2015 survey.
China listed the Yangtze alligator as a first-class protected animal in 1972.