The giant panda has been recently elevated from the “endangered” category to the “vulnerable” category on the global species list. The IUCN, an organization dedicated to conservation efforts, recently made this announcement after the latest Chinese census’ figures indicated a 17% increase in the animals’ population since 2014. The IUCN’s categories for species scarcity include “least concern,” “endangered,” and “extinct.”
The World Wildlife Federation commented that, as its mascot, the giant panda’s resurgence is heartening news for the organization and that a combination of scientific, political and local efforts can do wonders for biodiversity. The WWF’s panda logo was designed in 1961 by its founder, a British painter and naturalist by the name of Sir Peter Scott. By 1981, WWF was the first international organization to work with the nation of China.
Since its establishment, WWF has worked with government agencies to save the giant panda and its natural habitat, going as far as working out networks of reserves and wilderness corridors to connect different panda populations. This work has also gone into teaching local communities how to minimize the impact their own lives leave on the surrounding forests. The WWF’s efforts have elevated the headcount of panda reserves to 67, with nearly two-thirds of all wild pandas being under their protection. These measures have also helped to protect large portions of bamboo forests that not only protect other species but also serve as a natural resource for the tens of millions of villagers who live downstream from panda grounds.