The giant panda is China’s unofficial mascot and the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The distinctive black and white animal is one of the world’s most popular creatures and its diet consists mostly of bamboo shoots. For many years it has been an endangered species and its numbers in the wild had fallen to about 1,000 animals.
Now, following decades of rescue efforts, conservationists are saying it is no longer on the endangered list. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps track of threatened species across the world, has reclassified the animal as ‘vulnerable.’
The Chinese government has made huge efforts to protect the giant panda’s habitat and to replace forests that had been cut down. Their efforts have been rewarded, as a recent Giant Panda Survey, conducted with the help of the WWF, shows that there are now around 2,000 of these shy creatures outside of captivity.
However, the IUCN warn that climate change could destroy up to 35 percent of China’s bamboo forests which would reduce the giant panda population again. So, although this is a great result, there still remains plenty to do to ensure the long-term survival of the giant panda.