China says giant panda is still endangered
China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) said that it was too early to downgrade the giant panda’s conservation status after an international group reclassified it from an “endangered” to “vulnerable” species.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the change in a report, after reviewing the results of conservation efforts that have boosted the panda’s population.
Insisting that the pandas remain classed as endangered, the SFA stressed that there are still threats to the animal’s survival.
The wild giant panda population is fragmented into 33 isolated groups, with some having fewer than 10 animals, which limits the gene pool for reproduction. Meanwhile, climate change is predicted to wipe out more than one third of the panda’s bamboo habitat, a situation that will only be exacerbated by insufficient funding and technical support.
At the end of 2015, China had 1,864 giant pandas in the wild, increasing from about 1,100 in 2000, and there were 422 in captivity, according to the SFA.