Giant panda by Bernard DE WETTER / WWF
After years of conservation work on behalf of the iconic species, the giant panda has just been downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the global list of species at risk of extinction,

The surprising piece of good news demonstrates how an integrated approach between governments and environmental groups can save our planet’s endangered species.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature announced the upgrade to the giant panda’s status, pointing to a 17 percent rise in the population in the decade up to 2014.

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“Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats,” said WWF Director General Marco Lambertini. “The recovery shows that when science, political will and local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity.”

WWF’s panda logo was designed by the organization’s founding chairman, the naturalist and painter Sir Peter Scott in 1961. Twenty years later, WWF became the first international organization to work in China.

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Ever since, WWF has been working with the government on initiatives to save giant pandas, including helping to establish an integrated network of giant panda reserves and wildlife corridors to connect isolated panda populations as well as working with local communities to develop sustainable livelihoods and minimize their impact on the forests.

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These efforts have seen the number of panda reserves jump to 67, which now protect nearly two-thirds of the 1,864 wild pandas in China. They have also helped to safeguard large swathes of mountainous bamboo forests, which shelter countless other species and provide natural services to vast numbers of people, including tens of millions who live alongside rivers downstream of panda habitat.

SHARE the Wonderful News… (Photo by Bernard De Wetter /WWF)

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