In a wonderful development in nature conservation, the giant panda was downgraded from endangered to vulnerable on the list of species that are in danger of going extinct which is one step further away from actual extinction. This just proves that an integrated approach can go a long way in restoring our world’s fragile ecosystems and everything that live in them.
By all of those individuals and institutions who care standing together we can make a huge difference, start to improve our biodiversity and even save our wildlife. This positive news about the giant panda’s official status on the Red List of Threatened Species was shared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN. There was a 17% increase in wild numbers found in China over the past decade that ended in 2014 as found by a nationwide census. This means that there are currently 1864 wild giant pandas roaming China.
The giant panda has been the icon of conservation and the symbol of WWF but the fact that it is one step further away from extinction is a welcome relief for many nature lovers and conservationists, this according Marco Lambertini who is the to the Director General of the WWF. While the status of the panda has increased, many other species are more endangered than ever. The Eastern gorilla is now listed as critically endangered which means it is right on the verge of being extinct due to poaching.
In 1961 the panda became the face of the WWF when the logo was designed by Sir Peter Scott who wasn’t just the organization’s founding chairman but also a naturalist and painter. Twenty years after this the WWF was the first organization that worked in China. Since then the WWF have been working with government and the communities to save the panda.
Initiatives they implemented include the establishment of integrated networks of panda reserves and also wildlife corridors in order to get isolated groups of giant pandas connected again. In communities they assisted residents in developing sustainable livelihoods and in so doing minimizing the impact human actions have on the forests around them. There are now 67 reserves in the country which helps to protect almost two thirds of the pandas in the wild. Huge areas of mountainous bamboo forests are also being conserved.
Not only are they what pandas live off, they also provide shelter to a myriad of species and in addition it also offer natural services to millions and millions of people who live downstream from the panda habitats. When you think about it, 1864 is a tiny number. They may not be seen as endangered but the slightest problem can cause the panda to go extinct anyway. Just think what the world would be like if there was suddenly just 1864 people left. It would take many decades to get back to something that even resembles a population and the same is true for these magnificent animals.