In Brief
With a 17% increase in population over the past decade, the status of giant pandas has improved from "endangered" to "vulnerable." As of now, we have 2,060 young and adult giant pandas all in all.

THE ROAD WASN’T EASY

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Many scientific facilities now use artificial insemination methods to breed pandas. Credit: Getty Images

A little hope in humanity has been restored as the efforts (mostly by the Chinese government) to preserve the giant panda population have resulted in a 17% increase in their population over the last 10 years. This shift has downgraded the species status from “endangered” to “vulnerable.”

In a press release, WWF Director General Marco Lambertini said, “The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will, and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity.

Increasing the giant panda population was no easy task. When contained in cages, the pandas are very poor breeders. They don’t show a lot of interest with other pandas in the same cages they are in. Add to that the challenge of feeding them. Pandas eat so much they consume around 12.5 kilograms of bamboo per day. This is why conserving the forest is just as important.

It’s only going to get more difficult. With climate change, it’s going to be extremely challenging to maintain the increase in panda population. The bamboo forests might not be enough to feed all of these hungry furballs.

COUNT ‘EM PANDAS

As of now, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that there are 1,864 adult pandas. If we include the cubs, we have a total of around 2,060. While this is something to celebrate, the efforts in reforestation must continue to keep up the pace.

Lo Sze Ping, CEO of WWF China reminds everyone, “Everyone should celebrate this achievement, but pandas remain scattered and vulnerable, and much of their habitat is threatened by poorly-planned infrastructure projects. And remember: there are still only 1,864 left in the wild.”