iant pandas are no longer endangered in the wild but they are still vulnerable, with an estimated wild population of 1,800, China’s environmental authorities announced on July 7.
Cui Shuhong, director of the Natural Ecology Protection Department of China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, announced at a press conference held by the State Council that according to the definition of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species, pandas have been reclassified from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable.”
Pandas are highly protected according to China’s system of conservation and wild animal protection. The IUCN had already reclassified pandas from endangered to vulnerable in 2016.
The Chinese decision reflects the improvement in habitat and biodiversity, including efforts to preserve and replant bamboo forests which provide food for the species.
China has established 67 nature reserves for pandas. In 2016, the central government announced the establishment of a national park for pandas which includes parts of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, the three major habitats of pandas. The park is still being set up.