The big panda is no longer endangered, and the panda population is growing. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has changed the status of the panda in the Red Book from “threatened” to “vulnerable”. This happened mainly due to the efforts of Chinese biologists.
But how did China manage to achieve this?
A big panda or bamboo bear once lived in the forests of southern and eastern China in large numbers, but due to population growth and the development of agriculture, its distribution area was constantly decreasing. Now they live only in the forests where bamboo grows.
For many years, China has tried to increase the population of pandas. Success came only when bamboo forests began to be restored in the country and pandas were moved there. Bamboo makes up 99% of the nutrition of pandas, and without it, they begin to starve.
Pandas should eat from 12 to 38 kg of bamboo per day, depending on age and body weight. At present, there are 2060 pandas in China, of which 1864 are adult species. This is recognized by a sufficient number for the International Union for Conservation of Nature to re-qualify the condition of this species, transferring it from the category “threatened” to the category “vulnerable”.
Craig Hilton-Taylor, who manages the Red Book – a list of endangered species – within the framework of IUCN, says that the Chinese have been able to do a lot in restoring the natural habitat of bamboo bears. It was the loss of habitats that in the 1980s led to a reduction in the number of pandas to a total of 1,200 individuals. According to Hilton-Taylor, as soon as the area of bamboo forests begins to grow, pandas appear in them.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) agrees with this assessment. “The Chinese have made great strides in creating new reserves that can be inhabited by pandas. This is an excellent example of what can be achieved if the authorities are seriously engaged in environmental protection. But this success may be short-lived.
Climatologists believe that in the next 80 years, climate change will lead to the death of nearly a third of bamboo forests, which are the natural habitats of pandas.
“Climate change is causing the area of bamboo forests to disappear with increasing average temperatures,” says Hilton-Taylor. “Big pandas depend entirely on bamboo, and therefore the threat to the species persists. “Many Chinese zoos and institutions rely on artificial breeding of pandas, sometimes using artificial insemination techniques.
Last Sunday, twin pandas were born in the zoo in Atlanta, whose mother was fertilized using this method. “This method allows you to insure, – said Hilton-Taylor. – But you cannot constantly keep these animals in captivity. “Most captive panda breeding programs involve the relocation of animals to natural habitats. “We are aware of a couple of attempts at such relocation, but they have not been successful,” says Jeanette Hemley. “We are still not sure about the future of these animals.
In 2007, the first born and raised in captivity panda died after being left into the forest as a result of an attack by wild males of the same species.
The Tibetan antelope has become another species that is excluded from the endangered list but it is the panda that attracts everyone’s attention due to its appearance. “The black and white coloring and the big black spots around the eyes make them very charismatic. There are no prettier animals on Earth.
Category: General Issues
Tags: biology, science