The giant panda remains endangered in the wild

How does the giant panda behave in the wild? The upcoming birth of twins at the Beauval Zoo sheds light on this iconic species. Florian Kirchner of the IUCN believes that this bamboo enthusiast is still critically endangered. The current populations are well protected, but they are tiny and scattered.

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AT Zoo Beauvalin Loir-et-Cher, 9-year-old Juan Juan is about to give birth to twins (reported by ultrasound), whose father is Yuan Zi. Those giant pandas, loaned by China to France in 2012, are doing well. In nature this ursidwhat became the symbol of the fall biodiversityenjoys effective protection.

However, the regression of the bamboo forests, an environment he cannot do without, makes his survival doubtful. The main reason was human activity, but thanks to the measures taken, this risk was reduced. However, since global warmingas explained Florian Kirchnerfrom’IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). in giant panda “Get well, but not from the forest”he considers.

Are giant pandas still in danger?

Florian Kirchner : They are always on red list list of endangered species establishedIUCN, which lists all endangered species divided into three categories: Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered. In 2016, the panda leftdisappearance the transition from the category of “disappearing”, in which it has been for a very long time, to the category of “vulnerable”. This means that it is still under threat, but is on a positive slope; his conservation status improved thanks to the efforts of the Chinese authorities. The panda has never been in “critical danger” but has always been in “disappearing danger”.

There were serious concerns because its population was declining until 1990. The fourth national census (conducted by the Chinese authorities from 2011 to 2014) showed that there were 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild. According to the results of the previous census, conducted from 2000 to 2004, the population was estimated at 1596 people. In 1988, according to the 1985-1988 census. there were 1216 people. The panda population is extremely fragmented: there are 33 subpopulations in China, including 18 very small ones with fewer than ten individuals. This is a factor of great fragility. In addition to these 1864 pandas, 400 are in captivity in China and about 40 abroad.

What are the main threats to the giant panda?

Florian Kirchner : In 1986, when the panda was first listed on the IUCN Red List, its numbers drastically declined. There were two main threats: destruction and fragmentation of its natural habitat deforestation for urbanization, expansion of agricultural land, livestock and second, less important, poaching, especially for its fur. One could almost say that these threats no longer exist. Poaching because panda reserves are closely monitored and fines are severe. As for the reduction of its habitat, there are still problems, but the Chinese government has created huge nature reserves, and there is more reforestation going on there.

The threat we now fear changing of the climate. It is estimated that this could destroy over 35% of bamboo forests within the next 80 years. Other species are highly adaptable, able to live in different environments and feed on different things. It focuses on bamboo. So if the bamboo regresses, the panda regresses with it. In the current century, the trend [à l’amélioration de son statut de conservation] could be reversed very easily. There are other threats, such as the possibility of a disease that could greatly affect such a small population.

Why is it important to protect pandas?

Florian Kirchner : Some species such aspolar bear, tiger, Red pandagiant panda awakenssympathy and get a lot of public attention. They are emblems, ambassadors for all other species, thousandsendangered species. 5241 species are known to be endangered.

Also, panda variety “umbrella”, that is, its protection leads to the protection of many other species that we do not care about at all and which do not attract public attention. Protecting the panda means protecting everything wild nature and flora living in bamboo forests.

Giant panda, who are you?

Article by Bruno Scala, published January 16, 2012

Huang Huang and Yuan Zi, the two giant pandas who were welcomed as heads of state on Sunday at Roissy-CDG, look a bit like a diplomatic trifle. But they are also very curious animals, relatives of bears and carnivores turned into bamboo. A choice that weakens them at a time when that plant becomes deficient in its natural state. On the other hand, at the Beauval Zoo, Huang Huang and Yuan Zi won’t miss anything…

Of them panda the giants were loaned by China to France for duration ten year old. A sign of cordial understanding between these two countries. Both since yesterday plantigrade installed in Zoo Beauval, in the Loir-et-Cher. Huang Huang (“happy”) and Yuan Zi (“chubby”), respectively a woman and a man, now have an area of ​​2.5 hectares, air-conditioned houses and two outdoor parks of 1000 m² each. Eagles surround them snow panthers or even red pandas.

By name, you might think that the red panda is very close to giant panda, but it’s not. These two animals do not belong to the same family: ailuridae for the first, ursidae for the second. The animals closest to the giant panda are indeed carrynotorious bears.

Do Chinese pandas breed?

Ancestors giant panda were carnivores, like their bear cousins. Today, however, their diet consists almost entirely of bamboo shoots. He can eat about twenty kilograms in a day. However, it consumes only certain parts of the bamboo, and most (over 80%) is not digested and ends up in excrement. His digestive system is really not designed for such food.

The condition of this species is of concern, due in part to the depletion of bamboo. On the IUCN Red Listit belongs to the category endangered species. Fewer than 2,000 pandas still live freely in central China. Beauval Zoo officials hope the two individuals will breed. But we know that pandas are very difficult to breed in captivity.

In 1973, China had already loaned a pair of pandas to France, and without a birth. He was welcomed to the Zoo Vincennes and Yen Yen, the last survivor, died in January 2000 at the age of 28, which is the normal age for panda.

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