Giant pandas are no longer classified as endangered but are still vulnerable, Chinese officials say.
The classification was downgraded because the giant panda’s number in the wild has reached 1,800.
This announcement by China’s environmental ministry is the first time the animal’s status was changed on its own endangered species list.
Experts say that the country managed to save its iconic animal through its long-term conservation efforts, including the expansion of habitats.
In response to China’s announcement that the giant panda’s conservation status has been updated to ‘Vulnerable’; a step down from ‘Endangered’, the World Wildlife Fund issued the following statement:
Colby Loucks, Vice President for Wildlife Conservation: “China’s reclassification of the giant panda from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ is another sign of hope for the species, following the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s reclassification in 2016. Thanks to decades of collaboration between the Chinese government, local communities, companies and NGOs, the giant panda’s future is moresecure.
“China’s successful conservation of giant pandas shows what can be achieved when political will and science join forces. Continuing these conservation efforts is critical, but we need tostay vigilant on the current and future impacts climate change may have on giant pandas and their mountainous forest habitat.”