At a press conference, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced that the giant panda (or giant panda) is no longer an endangered species in the wild. Indeed, more than 1,800 specimens live in the mountain forests of Sichuan today, enough to classify the species as “vulnerable” and no longer endangered.
If there is one animal that symbolizes conservation and the human threat to wildlife, it is undoubtedly the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), not accidentally chosen as the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). This large black-and-white mammal belonging to the order of carnivores (albeit herbivores) has in fact been the victim of constant degradation of its natural habitat – the forests of Sichuan in central China – and poaching, close to extinction. . . Now, thanks to repeated conservation efforts by Chinese institutions over the past decades, the giant panda is no longer considered an endangered species, even for Beijing. In fact, over 1,800 individuals live in the wild. This became known during a press conference at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Indeed, the main global institution dedicated to the protection and monitoring of endangered species, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), already in 2016 removed the giant panda from the list of endangered species (EN code endangered) to the list of endangered species. vulnerable (VU code, vulnerable) to your red list. The new classification is not entirely reassuring and strong safeguards are still needed, however this is a much less urgent threat status than the previous one. However, the move was heavily criticized by China, who felt that more data was needed before the dragon could be declared safe.
As reported, five years after the official IUCN announcement, Beijing authorities have now also said that the giant panda is no longer threatened with extinction in the wild. Cui Shuhong, a spokesman for the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said at a press conference that the pandas’ new status was achieved due to the country’s “strong efforts to protect biodiversity and restore the environment.” “The living conditions of rare and endangered wild animals such as the giant panda, Tibetan antelope and milu deer have been improved. Enigmatic species such as the Chinese mountain cat and the red-necked hornbill have again been documented. We have seen Amur tigers visiting villages, wild Asian elephants traveling north, and a whale sighted in Shenzhen’s Dapeng Bay,” according to a press release published by Chinese state television. “The idea that lush mountains and clear waters are worth their weight in gold and silver has gained popularity among the Chinese. Respect, harmony and protection of nature have become a conscious choice for all levels of government and society,” Chinese officials comment.
The decision to classify the panda as no longer endangered, but as vulnerable, is mainly due to the number of specimens: today, as indicated, more than 1,800 individuals live freely in the wild and roam the slopes of mountainous areas. Sichuan feeds on tens of kilograms of bamboo shoots every day. In addition, many are kept in captivity or semi-freedom and participate in fertilization and reintroduction programs that have contributed to the recovery of the species. The success of conserving pandas and other endangered species lies in the number of protected areas in China, which increased to nearly 12,000 in 2019, or 18% of China’s (huge) area, a Chinese official said. country Asian country. China, according to the Xinhuanet news agency, will continue to improve international cooperation and encourage public participation in order to continue to protect valuable biodiversity.