The creatures’ population rapidly declined during the 1980s and early 1990s due to poaching, from almost a million to about 70,000; their current population is estimated to be between 100,000 and 150,000. Now, it appears the panda is making a comeback.
According to the State Forestry Administration, the population of the giant panda grew by 17 percent over the last ten years to more than 2000. China helped the panda population grow by by replanting bamboo forests, providing nearly all of the animals’ diet. Also, wildlife experts say that the giant panda needs a lot of restored habitats and they claim that China has done that really well.
“The Chinese have done a great job in investing in panda habitats, expanding and setting up new reserves”, said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president at the World Wildlife Fund.
Statistics from China’s forestry agencies revealed that the giant panda is rising, with an estimated population of 2,060 in 2016-a much-welcomed improvement from the 1,596 counted in a 2000-2004 census.
Still, the forestry administration insists that the panda remains endangered due to the damage of habitats and the impact of climate change. Because of climate change it is expected that in the next 80 years more than one third of the panda’s main source of food, the bamboo habitat, will be wiped out.
“It’s not looking very promising for giant pandas,” said Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List.
In the 1970s, the government designated several areas, including vast tracts of mountainous regions in West China’s Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces as protection zones and national parks. The goal was to protect the natural habitat in these areas, not only for the giant pandas, but also for other wild species that reside there.
Also, another measure taken in order to save the pandas is to involve the residents living in that area in the process of conservation, avoiding the destruction of the environment. The residents understood the serious situation and they are now helping the organizations to restore the natural habitats.
Another main part of protecting the giant panda is helping them breed. Right now, there are more than 300 giant pandas being raised in zoos and breeding centers. Scientists are also researching different ways for the giant panda to conceive.
What is your opinion on this topic? Can you think of other possibilities to protect the endangered species ?
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