Giant panda taken off endangered species list, experts say
The giant panda has been taken off the endangered species list after decades of conservation efforts.
An estimated 1,864 giant pandas lived in the wild in China in 2014, up from 1,596 just 10 years earlier, an International Union for Conservation of Nature census found.
“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,” World Wildlife Fund Director General Marco Lambertini said.
The panda will remain with a designation of “vulnerable,” which means it still has a risk of extinction. And despite dedicated wildlife reserves for giant pandas throughout China, climate change could wipe out 35 percent of panda’s bamboo in the next 80 years. Still, the new designation is a major victory for conservation efforts, which are widely responsible for the panda’s rebounding population.
Unfortunately, not all animals faced such positive news in the IUCN’s report. Eastern gorillas are now estimated to number below 5,000, raising its status from endangered to critically endangered.
Bertha R. Massie