Giant Pandas Are No Longer Considered An Endangered Species

By Bill Galluccio

July 9, 2021

Photo: Getty Images

Giant pandas are no longer considered an endangered species, Chinese officials announced. There are now 1,800 giant pandas in the wild, and their status has been downgraded to "vulnerable."

For the past 50 years, China has been engaged in a massive conservation effort to repopulate the pandas, which are extremely difficult to breed. Females have a window of between one and three days every year to become pregnant.

To help boost the panda population, China created several massive panda reserves in areas where bamboo is plentiful. Officials worked with local villagers in those areas to teach them how to live side-by-side with the pandas.

Becky Shu Chen, the technical advisor at the Zoological Society of London, told NBC News that those efforts included teaching villagers agriculture activities that would not destroy the pandas' habitats.

"China has established a relatively complete nature reserves system," Cui Shuhong, director of the Department of Natural Ecological Protection of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said during a press conference. "Large areas of natural ecosystems have been systematically and completely protected, and wildlife habitats have been effectively improved."

This is not the first time that giant pandas have been reclassified. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said the pandas were no longer endangered. That decision was met with resistance from Chinese authorities, who were concerned the declaration would harm their conservation efforts.

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