Good News – Giant Pandas Are No Longer Endangered

giant panda
Good News

The giant panda is no longer listed as an endangered species, which is fabulous news for this gorgeous creature. However, it is still on the list of vulnerable animals, meaning it isn’t completely in the clear. [1]

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a September 4th announcement shared the news that the pandas have been moved to the category of “vulnerable,” which is truly a testament to the successes of their program. However, during the same announcement, the IUCN also stated that the Eastern lowland gorilla is almost extinct and has been put on the organization’s “Red List.”

For several decades the giant panda was seen as one of the most endangered species, partly due to their dwindling habitats and poaching of the pandas for their beautiful black and white fur. However, China has been dutifully working to combat both of these issues. This has resulted in an increase of the panda population by 17% in the last decade alone. China has also doubled their number of giant panda preserves; but due to the fact that pandas like to roam by themselves, it makes it more difficult to house more giant pandas. [1]

Read: Brazil to Clone Endangered Animals and Release into the Wild

Although this is a small victory for the giant pandas, many scientists warn that they may be returned to the endangered list very quickly. This is partly due to the fact that the pandas are set to lose 35% of their habitats over the next century. Currently, the population of giant pandas has risen to over 2,000 for the first time in several decades, but experts warn that this could change very quickly. [2]

In addition to anti-poaching initiatives and habitat conservation, China is also attempting to breed pandas, and has been able to do so at a good rate, considering the difficulty. Sometimes scientists have even had to dress up in panda costumes to help the animals get in the mood to increase their population! [3]

As some researchers remain cautiously optimistic, the World Wildlife Fund is very happy with the results. The organization, which has featured a panda on their logo since 1961, stated:

“The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity.” [1]

Click for larger version. (Reuters/China Daily)
Click for larger version. (Reuters/China Daily)

Sources:

[1] Smithsonian

[2] Quartz

[3] Huffington Post