The Ritz Herald
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Giant Pandas Status Downgraded From ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’

A wildlife success story

Published on July 26, 2021

Pandas must be quite familiar to you all. But it has recently been “downgraded”. However, this isn’t bad news. With more than 1,800 giant pandas now living in the wild, China has downgraded the animal’s status from “endangered” to “vulnerable.” Back in 1988, the population of wild giant pandas in China was just 1,114.

Boosting the population by more than 60% has been no easy task. The protection of giant pandas requires extensive research and surveying, which cannot be done from inside an office. Rangers in nature reserves need to conduct habitat and bamboo surveys, as well as collect panda droppings in the field. Leaving early in the morning for work and returning late at night after walking dozens of kilometers along mountain paths, these have become their daily routines. But merely protecting animals themselves is not enough. Habitat contraction and falling bamboo yields due to monocarpic flowering and climate change all threaten the survival of giant pandas. Therefore, habitat conservation and reconstruction of bamboo forests are also essential tasks. Thanks to years of efforts, China has become well acquainted with the habits of giant pandas and developed more accurate survey and statistical methods. More than 60 nature reserves have been established to expand their habitats.

In recent years, China has made notable progress in protecting wildlife, especially rare and endangered species. The number of the previously critically endangered crested ibis has increased from just seven in 1981 to several thousand; the Chinese mountain cat, one of the rarest and most mysterious cat species, was spotted in Qilian Mountain National Park in Qinghai province; rufous-necked hornbills reappeared in the mountain forests of Yunnan province after disappearing for decades.

More recently, news stories about wildlife have captured public attention. While a herd of wild Asian elephants migrated northward, authorities redirected them away from densely populated areas using tempting snacks and roadblocks, and have started work on building an Asian elephant national park; multiple measures were taken to rescue melon-headed whales stranded in shallow waters; authorities restricted boat activities to protect a Bryde’s whale foraging in the waters off Shenzhen. These examples of wildlife conservation demonstrate the harmonious coexistence of human beings and animals.

To promote human progress while ensuring the survival of wildlife, we need to strike a harmonious and delicate balance. With continued efforts, more and more cute wild animals like giant pandas will appear all over the world.

Environmental Reporter