September 5th, 2016
The giant panda is now officially no longer an endangered species. International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses a species’ conservation status, has downgraded giant panda from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable”, following a 17 percent increase in population over the past 10 years.
It’s an incredible change of fate for a species that was in such dire straits in 2009 that experts were predicting it could become extinct within three generations.
A nationwide census in 2014 found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China, up from 1,596 in 2004, the IUCN said in its report on the animal.
In 2006, scientists reported that the number of pandas living in the wild may have been underestimated at about 1,000. Previous population surveys had used conventional methods to estimate the size of the wild panda population, but using a new method that analyzes DNA from panda droppings, scientists believe the wild population may be as large as 3,000. Although the species has been reclassified to “vulnerable” since 2016, the conservation efforts are thought to be working.
The giant panda has been a target of poaching by locals since ancient times and by foreigners since it was introduced to the West. Starting in the 1930s, foreigners were unable to poach giant pandas in China because of the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, but pandas remained a source of soft furs for the locals. The population boom in China after 1949 created stress on the pandas’ habitat, and the subsequent famines led to the increased hunting of wildlife, including pandas. During the Cultural Revolution, all studies and conservation activities on the pandas were stopped. After the Chinese economic reform, demand for panda skins from Hong Kong and Japan led to illegal poaching for the black market.
Now, they are getting raised in captivities, but those are like their natural habitat. The chinese government is also helping to protect them by investing much to restore them in the wild then these pandas are bein adopted as pets by many. They are given sufficient food, treatment, activities to do in captivities. Since the rate of reproduction among pandas is slow, it will take some more time to fully accomplish the goals of increasing panadas.
But this is indeed a good news, we hope we get to hear these kind of news about other endangered species too.