giant panda numbers rise 

The symbol of conservation

In 2016, the Giant Panda's conservation status improved from endangered to vulnerable, with the overall population rising steadily by 17%. The Chinese government has been breeding the pandas in captivity for a number of years and is now beginning to release them back into the wild.   

Pandas have been on this earth for around 2-3million years but were only discovered by westerners in 1869. There are currently fewer than 2000 pandas living in the wild. These populations are separated into small groups by roads, and villages. Each group consists of less than 10 pandas putting them at risk from a lack of genetic diversity as well as whole groups being vulnerable to natural disasters and diseases.

However, the Chinese government has since pledged more than a billion dollars for a 10,000 square mile panda national reserve to connect those separated groups of pandas.

The Giant Pandas’ success story is down to two factors: a noticeable decrease in poaching as well as in increase in protected areas. There are now 67 nature reserves covering over half of the pandas’ range.

Although this is a rare success story, the Giant Panda is still vulnerable to extinction and will require much more protection to stabilise population numbers.