The Giant Panda is off the IUCN Red List Endangered category. All the cute pictures have paid off.
Cute animals are easier to protect. The Giant Panda is a perfect example of that. The new Red List downgrades the Giant Panda from Endangered to Vulnerable.
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The IUCN Red List Update says about the decision to remove the Giant Panda from the Endangered list: "Previously listed as Endangered, The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is now listed as Vulnerable, as its population has grown due to effective forest protection and reforestation. The improved status confirms that the Chinese government's efforts to conserve this species are effective. However, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35% of the Panda's bamboo habitat in the next 80 years and thus Panda population is projected to decline, reversing the gains made during the last two decades. To protect this iconic species, it is critical that the effective forest protection measures are continued and that emerging threats are addressed. The Chinese government's plan to expand existing conservation policy for the species is a positive step and must be strongly supported to ensure its effective implementation."
I am following a couple of Chinese news outlets on social media to spot viral trends. These channel pretty much every day post Panda photos. Be it about newborn Panda or photos of something funny a Panda did. China really cares about its Pandas.
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The new Red List has not just good news. Four out of six great apes are one step away from extinction warns the IUCN. The Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei) – which is made up of two subspecies - has moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered due to a devastating population decline of more than 70% in 20 years. Its population is now estimated to be fewer than 5,000. Grauer’s Gorilla (G. b. graueri), one subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – has lost 77% of its population since 1994, declining from 16,900 individuals to just 3,800 in 2015. Killing or capture of great apes is illegal; yet hunting represents the greatest threat to Grauer’s Gorillas. The second subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – the Mountain Gorilla (G. b. beringei) –is faring better and has increased in number to around 880 individuals. Four of the six great apes - Eastern Gorilla, Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutan and Sumatran Orangutan - are now listed as Critically Endangered, whilst the Chimpanzee and Bonobo are listed as Endangered.