Meanwhile, partnerships between the Chinese government and international conservation nongovernmental organizations and zoos have spread research, conservation and breeding efforts. Zoo Atlanta announced Saturday that 19-year-old Lun Lun, originally from China’s Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, had given birth to twins.
China now has 67 panda reserves, which are similar to U.S. national parks, says Hemley. She also noted that the Tibetan antelope, an endangered species slaughtered in past decades for its fine fur, is also recovering. The mountain species is now listed as near-threatened, according to the Red List.
The Giant Panda, the symbol of conservation, has been declared as no longer endangered by a group of experts on Sunday. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now classifies the iconic animal as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species after half a century of efforts to save it from extinction.
The change in status means four of six great apes are critically endangered, the eastern gorilla, western gorilla, Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan. The chimpanzee and bonobo are considered endangered.
These efforts have seen the number of panda reserves jump to 67, which now protect nearly two-thirds of all wild pandas. They have also helped to safeguard large swathes of mountainous bamboo forests, which shelter countless other species and provide natural services to vast numbers of people, including tens of millions who live alongside rivers downstream of panda habitat.
Due to illegal hunting, the plains zebra (above, an individual at Zoo Atlanta) has moved from least concern to near threatened. The population has fallen by 24 percent in the past 14 years.
Efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.
Success for the giant panda, endangered since 1990, is thanks to two factors: A marked decrease in poaching, which was rampant in the 1980s; and a huge expansion of the animal’s protected habitat. (Also read “Pandas Get to Know Their Wild Side.”)
Likewise, the giant panda, at fewer than 2,000 individuals, is not out of the woods yet, she cautions. Several models predict climate change will wipe out more than 30 percent of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years. (Read “Who Discovered the Panda?”)
There has also been a 52 per cent average decline in populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish around the globe between 1970 and 2010. “We ignore the decline of species at our peril – as they are the barometer that reveals the impact we are having on the planet that sustains us,” added Mr Andersen. The announcement was made at the World Conservation Congress currently meeting in Hawaii.
The WWF has worked for decades to save giant pandas by developing reserves and working with local communities to establish sustainable livelihoods and minimize their impact on forests, the organization said. There are now 67 panda reserves, which protect nearly two-thirds of all wild pandas.
The giant panda is no longer considered an endangered species, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Sunday. A 17% rise in the giant panda population in the decade up to 2014 has downgraded the species to “Vulnerable” from “Endangered,” the WWF said in a statement. “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,” Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General said. The WWF has worked for decades to save giant pandas by developing reserves and working with local communities to establish sustainable livelihoods and minimize their impact on forests, the organization said. There are now 67 panda reserves, which protect nearly two-thirds of all wild pandas. Pandas, however, still remain under threat. “Everyone should celebrate this achievement but pandas remain scattered and vulnerable, and much of their habitat is threatened by poorly-planned infrastructure projects – and remember: there are still only 1,864 left in the wild,” Lo Sze Ping, CEO of WWF-China, said.
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