Giant pandas are no longer 'endangered' in China

05 Sep 2016 | By Akriti Asthana
Increase in Giant Panda population

The giant panda, one of the symbols of China, has been upgraded to the vulnerable species list after being listed as endangered for more than 25 years by the IUCN.

The population of giant pandas increased by 17% from 2004 to 2014.

The success has been hailed as the result of work by Chinese agencies to enforce poaching bans and expand forest reserves.

In context: Increase in Giant Panda population

InformationDifference between Endangered and Vulnerable Species

The International Union for Conservation of Nature categorizes animals according to their conservation status.

An Endangered species is one that is likely to become extinct and is placed on the Red List.

"Endangered" is the second most severe conservation status for wild populations, after Critically-Endangered.

A vulnerable species is one which is likely to become endangered unless circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.

DetailsConservation efforts

The panda population was estimated to be less than 1,000 in the 1980s, due to poaching and deforestation.

China banned trading panda skins in 1981, enacted the 1988 Wildlife Protection Law which banned poaching, and conferred the highest protected status to the animal.

The creation of a panda reserve system in 1992 increased available habitats.

They also increased research, conservation and breeding efforts.

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05 Sep 2016Giant pandas are no longer 'endangered' in China

Giant Panda population over the years

OverviewGiant Panda population over the years

A survey carried out between 1998 and 2002 found that there were 1,596 giant pandas living in the wild.

According to the latest survey, conducted between 2011 to 2014, there are now an estimated total of 2,060 pandas, of which 1,864 are adults.

Currently, there are 67 reserves in China that protect 67% of the population and nearly 1.4 million hectares of habitat.

Efforts requiredStill a long way to go

The IUCN has warned that although better forest protection has helped increase panda numbers, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35% of its natural bamboo habitat in the next 80 years, which might lead to another decline.

Since Giant pandas are very dependent on bamboo for food and with a substantial loss of bamboo forests, this success might be short lived.

InformationOther news from the animal kingdom

The Tibetan antelope has been removed from the IUCN's red list.

The eastern gorilla, the largest living primate, has been placed on the critically endangered list. It has suffered a 70% population collapse over the past 20 years, primarily due to illegal hunting.

The western gorilla, Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan are also classed as critically endangered, whereas Chimpanzees and bonobos are deemed endangered.

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Giant Panda- Symbol of wilderness preservation

WWF's giant panda logo originated from a panda named Chi Chi that had been transferred from Beijing Zoo to London Zoo in 1961 when WWF was being established. The logo was designed by the organisation's founding chairman, Sir Peter Scott in 1961.