China to Re-Classify Giant Panda as Vulnerable After Rise in Wild Population
China shared a good news recently stating that it will re-classify giant panda as vulnerable after a rise in wild population. Officials said that after years of conservation efforts, the iconic animal is no longer endangered in the wild, but they are still vulnerable with a population of 1,800 individuals outside captivity.
According to the head of the environment ministry’s department of nature and ecology conservation, Cui Shuhong, this increase in wild population of pandas was a result of improved living conditions and China’s efforts in keeping their habitats intact.
China has established a relatively complete nature reserves system. Large areas of natural ecosystems have been systematically and completely protected, and wildlife habitats have been effectively improved.
The announcement mirrored China’s nation-wide efforts to preserve biodiversity in recent years, through expansion of giant panda’s habitats and replantation of bamboo forests to feed them.
Moreover, other animals such as Siberian tigers, amur leopards, Asian elephants and crested ibis have seen a significant rise in their population as a result of the ongoing conservation efforts.
China did not remove giant panda from endangered species list in 2016 when the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reclassified the species as vulnerable. Many experts believed that the decision was too early, misleading and would spur a laid-back attitude toward species conservation.
The recent decision was met with delight and applause on social media, where people praised China’s conservation efforts.
However, the animal still faces many threats. Despite the improvement in numbers, the pandas are threatened by climate change, which could destroy about 35 percent of their bamboo habitats by the end of this century.