Good News About Pandas Changes The Face Of Conservation

The panda has been the symbol for endangered animals and conservation for years, but that may have to change. That's because a big piece of good news got lost in the sad headlines of 2016: the Giant Panda is no longer endangered.

The lovable bear got upgraded to "vulnerable" after decades of conservation efforts finally yielded some results. A study in 2014 showed a 17% increase in panda populations across the globe.

Baby Pandas
National Geographic

The panda is completely out of the woods, er, bamboo yet. Over 33% of their natural habitat remains threatened by industrialization.

China, the region where the vast majority of pandas lives, has dramatically increased the amount of reserves, now up to 67, covering over 5,400 square miles. That means that over two-thirds of wild pandas live on protected land.

The panda, with its adorable face and cuddly temperament, became an unofficial mascot of conservation efforts. It's even been the logo of the World Wildlife Foundation since 1961.

WWF Logo

"Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world's wildlife and their habitats," said Marco Lambertini, director general of the WWF.

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