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Giant Panda No Longer Endangered Species Anymore Facts and Statistics
For over 50 years, the giant panda has been the globe’s most beloved conservation icon. Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats. – Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General
Welcome to Animal Facts. In a welcome piece of good news for the world’s threatened wildlife, the giant panda, as of September 2016, has been downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the global list of species at risk of extinction, demonstrating how an integrated approach can help save Earth’s vanishing biodiversity. Today, we discuss this great news. Let’s get started.
10. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the positive change to the giant panda’s official status in the Red List of Threatened Species, pointing to a 17% rise in the population in the decade up to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,864 giant pandas in the wild in China.
9. WWF’s panda logo was designed by the organisation’s founding chairman, the naturalist and painter Sir Peter Scott in 1961. Twenty years later, World Wildlife Fund became the first international organisation to work in China. Ever since, WWF has been working with the government on initiatives to save giant pandas and their habitat, including helping to establish an integrated network of giant panda reserves and wildlife corridors to connect isolated panda populations.
8. There are about 20 different species of bamboo that pandas will eat. However bamboo is so nutritionally poor that the pandas have to consume up to 45 pounds each day, which can take up to 16 hours.
7. The Chinese once hunted Panda believing that its pelt provided magical protection against evil spirits. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, hunting Panda carries strict penalties in China.
6. The main cause of the panda’s decline is the erosion of its habitat, due to the clearing of areas for crop cultivation. Another reason is the natural die-back of the local variety of bamboo. The panda will not migrate to feed in new areas, because it is hemmed in by human settlements, and so it frequently starves to death.
5. Giant pandas are only about the size of a stick of butter at birth, and they’re hairless and helpless. The panda mother gives great care to her tiny cub, usually cradling it in one paw and holding it close to her chest. For several days after birth, the mother does not leave the den, not even to eat or drink!
4. Are Pandas Bears? There was some confusion about this for a while. Scientists put living things in groups to help us organize what we know about the millions of species on Earth. Not everything fits neatly into the groups scientists have created. For a long time, scientists weren’t sure if giant pandas were bears or perhaps more closely related to raccoons. Now we know that giant pandas are indeed members of the bear family. Scientists have used DNA to find out that the giant panda is more closely related to the other bears than to the raccoons. Giant pandas are in the family Ursidae with the seven other bear species.
3. Panda’s pooh points in their direction of travel, so they can be easily tracked in the wild. Unfortunately, historically this led to them being more endangered, but now it aids researchers.
2. Fossils of pandas were found that were between 1 and 2 million years old. Pandas were once widely distributed across the whole of China. Now they only live in the wild in remote areas of China’s Tibetan foothills.
1. It’s not all good news. While the panda’s status has improved, other species are under increasing threat, including the Eastern gorilla that is now listed as critically endangered, just one step away from extinction, due primarily to poaching.
Well, there you have it. Some great news for one of the most widely recognizable and iconic species to grace this planet. And for this, we are truly grateful and hopeful for future efforts. Did we miss any facts? Let the community know in the comments below. Are there any endangered species that you’d like us to cover? Reach out. We’re all ears. And as always, catch ya next time.