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Giant pandas stricken off endangered list

/ 01:01 PM September 07, 2016
In this Jan. 28, 2013 file photo, giant panda Ya Ya plays at a wildness recovery training base in Foping county in northwest China's Shaanxi province. According to a census by China's State Forestry Administration, the panda population has grown by 268 to a total of 1,864 since the last survey ending in 2003. AP

Gian Panda. AP File photo.

One of the world’s most popular totems of wildlife conservation, the giant panda has been taken off the endangered species list by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

After announcing the near extinction of the eastern gorilla on Monday, the nature preservation group confirmed that the cuddly black-and-white creatures’ population has vastly improved.

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The pandas, however, will remain listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN’s “Red List,” which classifies species based on population sizes and threats they are facing.

Statistics from China’s forestry agencies revealed that the giant panda’s number has been on the rise, with an estimated population of 2,060 in 2015—a much-welcomed improvement from the 1,596 counted in a 2000-2004 census.

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The IUCN credits the Chinese government for its forest protection and reforestation efforts to protect the panda bear. The group also noticed an increase in forest cover in the country, which provides more potential habitat for the magnificent creatures.

Despite the positive news, the IUCN reminded the public about the impending climate change, which is predicted to eliminate more than 35% of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years, reversing all the progress made in the past two decades.

The animal’s long-term survival is still very much dependent on continuing conservation efforts, the group said.

To counter the imminent threat, the Chinese government has already laid out plans to to expand existing conservation policy for the species. The IUCN also asked Chinese citizens for their support, to ensure its effective implementation.  Khristian Ibarrola

READ: Most humpback whales taken off the endangered species list

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TAGS: Chinese government, endangered list, giant panda, Global warming, IUCN, population increase, Red List, Wildlife Conservation
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