For decades, the giant panda has not only been a symbol of endangered animals but on the list of endangered species as well. But now there is a hope for these cute animals. The numerous protective measures and extensive research were successful in recent years. For the first time, the number of panda bears is growing. That means environmentalists and animal rights activists all over the world hope for the giant panda will continue to find its place in the world.
China is Taking Massive Action Against It
China is a significant panda habitat. Since 1974, they count the population every ten years. Since then it has been clear that the revered bear species has become increasingly rare. During the second count in the mid-1980s, the drama of their situation suddenly became clear. At that time there were only 1,200 animals left, these lived in a few mountain regions. The reason for this was the significantly reduced habitat of the animals. They feel most comfortable in deciduous and mixed forests where they find plenty of bamboo in the undergrowth. After all, this is the leading food for bears that are also called bamboo bears. The warming of the climate had already affected bamboo in the past, and now humans have also been added their negative impact. It decimated the pandas’ habitat through industrialization and population growth. China cut around a third of its forests in the second half of the 20th century.
China has taken drastic measures to stop this trend. They created numerous panda conservation projects, including a breeding program and several national parks. The panda can develop in peace in these reserves and remains protected. The areas are vast and give the endangered bears plenty of space for an undisturbed life. The strict measures are finally leading to the success. According to the studies by international nature conservation organizations, the panda’s habitat has increased by around twelve percent. That also had an impact on the population. The stock of bears grew by 20 percent in the past ten years from 2004 to 2014. The tendency continues to be rising that gives reason for a hope. More forest means more bamboo, so more food, and ultimately more pandas.
It can be called the first great success of the conservationists. The status of the giant panda was downgraded for the first time after 25 years of protective measures on the Red List. Climate change continues to threaten the bears’ habitat and it could destroy more bamboo forests. That would be a big problem because the pandas are exclusively focused on bamboo due to the unique diet. In this context, time is also an essential factor. These animals reproduce very slowly. The pandas need 18 months to look after their mother and only reach sexual maturity at the age of six. But only for a few days a year. That makes the breeding program slow and lengthy. But the first successes are already recognizable; now it is vital to persevere.