The large Chinese bears have spent years as a dying breed, with many zoologists predicting their extinction to be imminent. Various environmental factors and their apparent unwillingness to procreate in captivity led many to assume that the end was near for the big cute beasts. But not so. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) were thrilled to announce the news that The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had downgraded the threat level. Giant Pandas are no longer an ‘endangered’ species. They are, instead, now listed as only a ‘vulnerable’ breed.
Incessant deforestation had been a major player in their woes, but it seems as though the combined and concerted efforts of so many people and organizations are now paying off.
WWF Director General Marco Lambertini was ecstatic when he told the media this:
“For over 50 years, the giant panda has been the globe’s most beloved conservation icon as well as the symbol of WWF. Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats.”
“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,” he went on.
There have been 17% charted the rise in the population of Giant Pandas in the decade up to 2014. That was when a nationwide census in China found that there were 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild.
There are now 67 active panda reserves in China, which look after and monitor almost two-thirds of all the wild pandas in the country.
“It is a significant conservation success following years of enormous efforts on the part of the Chinese Government, communities and non-governmental organizations,” said Glyn Davies, the Executive Director of Global Programmes at WWF-UK.
“This is a cause for celebration and proves that a united approach can bring a substantial difference to threatened species, even at a time of great economic growth in China.”
Provided the bamboo forests there stay intact, there’s no reason why the Giant Panda can’t be with us for some time…