Giant pandas are no longer endangered, says China, in landmark moment for conservation effort

Giant pandas are no longer endangered, says China, in landmark moment for conservation effort
Beijing has now downgraded the wild giant panda from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’

China has announced the giant panda is no longer an “endangered” species, in a massive win for the conservation efforts in the country.

The number of wild giant pandas, in the last decade, has increased by almost 20 per cent, reports said.

Beijing declared that there are at least 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, and hence the species is now classified as “vulnerable” and not endangered.

Cui Shuhong, director of the Department of Nature and Ecology Conservation under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment told the media that populations of several other rare and endangered species in China have increased “significantly”.

These include the Siberian or Amur tiger, the Northeast Asian leopard, also called the Amur leopard, the Asian elephant and the crested ibis.

The giant pandas were listed as “endangered” in 1990 but officials said that conservation efforts over the last three decades have paid off.

One of the factors that have led to the increase in the population of wild giant pandas in China is replanting and repopulating bamboo forests, reports said. The giant panda’s diet consists of mostly bamboo. One adult eats upto 45 pounds of bamboo stems every day.

Five years ago, the International Union for Conservation of Nature downgraded giant pandas from its endangered species list. However, at the time, China argued that the threat to the animal was still significant.

The 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services pointed out that “global biodiversity continues to decline, 75 per cent of the Earth surface and 66 per cent of the ocean have been changed due to human activities”.

However, it mentioned that “China has made commendable progress in the field of biodiversity conservation, with both government investments and citizen awareness rising steadily”.

The report says that “Populations of endangered species such as the Tibetan antelope, the giant panda, the crested ibis and the snow leopard have grown substantially.”