Endangered Spotlight: Giant Panda

Giant panda / Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Current conservation status: Vulnerable
Population (as of 2015): About 1,860

Jeff Kubina / Wikimedia Commons

The giant panda has been treasured as a national symbol of China for many years. Many of our bags are named after this cuddly bear including our Panda Backpack, EcoZoo Deluxe Panda, Panda Playpack and Brite Buddies Panda Backpack.

About

Pandas are generally very popular animals. Their black and white features make them unique bears that are easily recognized by anyone. As cute and cuddly they may seem, pandas were once threatened to the point of extinction, but groups have been steadily bringing them back through conservation efforts.

The giant panda is a vulnerable species native to south central China. Habitat loss and low birth rates have recently hurt the population. Historically, pandas were popular poaching targets for their fur. There are now many conservation efforts being made to protect and restore pandas.

Threats

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation – The natural habitats of pandas have been loss as a result of human interference and climate change.
  • Low birth rates – Many pandas in captivity have lost interest in mating, resulting in the need for artificial insemination.
  • Poaching – This was a huge threat for pandas in the past, but some pandas are accidentally caught in traps meant for other animals.

Conservation Efforts

  • Highest level of protection under the 1988 Wildlife Protection Law
  • Panda fur trade made illegal by Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species
  • Panda reservation system to protect habitats for wild pandas
  • Artificial breeding by scientists to increase population of pandas in captivity

What Can You Do

Pandas have been making a steady recovery and have since been moved from Endangered to Vulnerable. As a recognized symbol for endangered species conservation, many groups are continuing their efforts to protect the pandas.

Fernando Revilla / Wikimedia Commons

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