China now reports 1,864 wild pandas – a major rise in just a decade
It’s good news for panda, the furry black and white bear that has come to symbolise wildlife conservation. China announced the results of its Fourth National Giant Panda Survey, which WWF supported with financial and technical expertise.
The numbers: 1,864 estimated minimum population of wild pandas; 16.8% increase in wild panda numbers over the past decade; and, 11.8% increase of giant panda geographic range since 2003.
“The rise in the population of wild giant pandas is a victory for conservation and definitely one to celebrate,” said Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President of Wildlife Conservation at WWF. “This is a testament to the commitment made by the Chinese government for the last 30-plus years to wild panda conservation. WWF is grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with the Chinese government to contribute to panda conservation efforts.”
Wild giant pandas, a global symbol of wildlife conservation, are found only in China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. There are currently 67 panda nature reserves in China, an increase of 27 since the last survey. The survey found that 1,246 wild giant pandas live within nature reserves. The approximately 33.2% that live outside protected areas face higher risks to their survival as major infrastructure projects cause large-scale habitat loss.
Saving wild pandas
Giant panda conservation efforts benefit many other rare species of animals and plants in the southwest China biodiversity hotspot. The giant panda’s habitat is also home to species such as the takin, golden snub-nosed monkey, red panda and serow. Forests within the giant panda’s habitat feature major freshwater conservation areas that benefit millions of people.
WWF’s 2015-2025 giant panda conservation strategy sets the course for panda protection efforts over the next decade and will focus on improving panda habitat in a manner that balances conservation with local sustainable development.
According to the WWF, the panda logo is symbolic of its longstanding commitment to conserving pandas in the wild. “We have a 30-year history in China and a strong presence in critical giant panda areas,” disclosed the conservation group.