Giant Panda | WWF Hong Kong

Giant Panda



Background

 
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Gaint Panda - Background
© WWF-Hong Kong
While the Panda is one of the world’s most iconic species, known and loved across the world, this peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces a number of threats to its survival. Its forest habitat is fragmented and populations are small and isolated from each other, and poaching remains an ever-present threat.

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) was once widespread throughout southern and eastern China, as well as neighbouring Myanmar (Burma) and northern Vietnam. Today, pandas mainly live in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, with most of the wild population distributed between the Qinling and Minshan Mountains.

By mid-2005, the Chinese government had established over 50 panda reserves, protecting more than 10,400 km² and over 45% of remaining giant panda habitat. However, habitat destruction continues to pose a threat to the many pandas living outside these areas.

Currently, only around 66.8% of the population, or about 1246 pandas, are under protection in reserves. As China's economy continues its rapid development, it is more important than ever to ensure the giant panda's continued survival. While progress is being made, numbers remain low. The IUCN’s Red List classifies the panda as Endangered, and threats to its survival remain.

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Threats & Action

WWF has been active in giant panda conservation since 1980. More recently, WWF has been helping the government of China to undertake its National Conservation Programme for the giant panda and its habitat. As a result, reserves for this species cover more than 16,000 km² of forest in and around their habitat. A 2014 survey revealed that an estimated 1,864 individuals remain in the wild.

WWF has been working closely with the Chinese government in the Qinling and Minshan Mountains, and the projects implemented in these areas have achieved great success. Panda habitat is increasing with the development of new reserves and green corridors.

Some threats to panda survival such as poaching and illegal logging have been significantly reduced. Community development projects to help people sustainably coexist with pandas have been very positive.

The work of the Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provincial governments to ensure the survival of the giant panda gives rise to hope that the panda will not be lost and will continue to exist in the wild for many generations to come.

Since the catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan, China in 2008, WWF has focused emergency relief and reconstruction work mainly on the giant panda habitats and the neighboring communities. This is because the 300-km seismic zone near the epicentre is a priority area for global biodiversity conservation, a water supply conservation area and an important ecological protective barrier at Chengdu Plain and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. It could be called the aorta of the "green heart" of China.
Over the next five years, WWF will support pilot vegetation restoration projects, the development of nature reserves' contingency plans, the restoration of monitoring and patrolling facilities, and the development of sustainable livelihoods for the local communities around the panda habitats.

To support WWF’s conservation work to reduce threats to species such as habitat loss and preserve our ecosystem, you may now get your symbolic animal adoption as a meaningful and unique gift for friends and families.