The Population Of Wild Pandas Has Gone Up Since The Animals Last Were Counted
Good news is often hard to come by in the world of endangered species conservation. So when we hear something positive we like to celebrate. What we’re most happy about right now is a report from the Chinese government that the number of giant pandas in the wild has undergone a sizable increase in the last dozen years.
According to Chinese wildlife officials, there are now 1,864 pandas living in the bamboo forests of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces in southern China, up from a population of 1,596 in 2003. This is an increase of nearly 17 percent.
Until just a few decades ago, pandas were in danger of extinction due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. But the Chinese people and their government have made strong efforts to save their national animal—China is the only country where it lives—and the latest census results are proof that the dedication and hard work have been paying off.
More than half of the pandas living in the wild roam 67 reserves that have been set aside for them—20 more reserves than were in existence in 2003. An additional benefit of the panda reserves is that many other native Chinese plant and animal species are being protected by them as well.
Wild pandas still face some pressures, however. While poaching is no longer a critical problem, the habitat of an estimated 650 pandas living outside of the reserves continues to be under threat of development.