Giant Panda Officially No Longer Endangered
The global effort to save the giant panda on the brink of extinction has yielded a positive result as its population rose 17% from 2004 to 2014.
This report is attested by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that highlighted the improved status of the cuddly species from endangered to “vulnerable.”
The increase in available habitat due China’s reforestation and forest protection efforts played a vital role in the increase of the population of the giant panda.
Based on China’s census, there was recorded a total population of 2,060 pandas in 2015. In 2014, there were 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China.
Since its sudden decline in numbers in the 1970s, the Chinese government launched intensive campaigns to save the panda from extinction.
CNN reports say the precarious plight of giant panda alarmed China. In 1981, the Asian country banned trading panda skins. The enactment of the 1988 Wildlife Protection Law that bans poaching has helped raise awareness on the urgency to save the panda bears.
Since the creation of a panda reserve system in 1992, the number of available habitats has increased. Today, there are 67 reserves in the country that protect 67% of the population and nearly 1.4 million hectares of habitat.
In addition, collaborative efforts between the Chinese government and international conservation nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and zoos also resulted in positive outcomes. The partnerships have reinforced research, conservation and breeding initiatives.
The World Wildlife Fund attributed the conservation success to the united efforts of the global community.
“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,” said WWF.
Beware of Complacency
Although the giant panda is no longer a critically endangered species, the impact of climate change must not be ignored.
IUCN underscored that climate change threatens to cut more than 35% of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years. The “vulnerable” designation may still mean it’s still at risk of extinction.