Ok, so two news stories in one. But overall, the past couple of months have been a good time for Giant Pandas! First, Giant Pandas have been taken off the endangered list. And then twin cubs celebrated their first Birthday at Toronto Zoo! So, there really is a lot to celebrate for Giant Pandas!
Pandas Are No Longer Endangered!
On the 4th September 2016, Giant Pandas moved down the IUCN’s Red List, from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’.
‘Endangered ’ means that the specie has a high risk of becoming extinct in the wild.
‘Vulnerable ’ means that the specie has a high risk of becoming endangered in the wild.
The Giant Panda has seen a 17% population increase and its geographical range has increased by 12%.This is great news for the iconic specie that is a huge conservation symbol. The change in conservation status has been possible due to a united approach. Science, politics and the local community have come together to help the Panda. This gives hope for other endangered species.
The Chinese government has been working with the WWF to save Pandas and their habitat. A network of reserves have been established, as well as wildlife corridors which allow isolated Panda populations to connect. There have also been efforts to help local communities to develop sustainable practises. Due to these efforts there are now 67 Panda reserves with nearly two-thirds of the Panda population inside.
However, although this is great news for Giant Pandas, IUCN has predicted that climate change could reverse this news. It is predicted that climate change will wipe out 35% of bamboo habitat.
Toronto Zoo Cubs
I’m not going to end on that depressing note that all the conservation efforts could be reversed… Instead let’s look to Toronto Zoo!
On 13th October 2016, twin cubs Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue celebrated their first Birthday! These pair are the only Panda cubs in Canada and were born at Toronto Zoo. The Zoo put on a little celebration for them:
There are cardboard cutouts of other Zoo babies, to help the Pandas celebrate. The four boxes come from a Chinese custom for one year old babies. The boxes were inscribed with Chinese characters meaning ‘Life’, ‘Happiness’, ‘Money’, and ‘Bamboo’. The cubs had to chose a box.
Some good news for Pandas over the last few days. Let’s hope we get some more good news for endangered species across the world!