Why Are Giant Pandas Endangered?

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A world without pandas is just unimaginable. Their existence faces threats for many years. Come to think of it, why are giant pandas endangered?

Giant pandas were part of the endangered species before. The irresponsible actions of the humans towards the pandas and the environment where they live caused this to happen.

Luckily, their label as endangered species turned into vulnerable species in the past few years. All thanks to the people who do massive actions towards the conservation of the pandas.

Do you think these people are admirable? What if I tell you that you can support them or be one of them? How is that possible? Let’s find out as we discussed everything you need to know about saving the pandas.

Are giant pandas going extinct?

No, they are not. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the giant panda’s official status in the Red List of Threatened Species from endangered to vulnerable.

That would mean that the population of pandas is improving as the years pass by.

Why are giant pandas going extinct?

Presently, their status is far from extinction. However, the survival of the pandas in the future is not 100% guaranteed. Here are the reasons why pandas are going to extinct:

Climate Change

pandas poor climate change adaptation

The world we live in now suffers from climate change. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),

Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional, and global climates.

Human’s irresponsible actions in the environment cause this problem. This drastic change makes pandas and other animals in the world have a hard time coping up.

Modernization

modernization threat to animals

The modernization brought changes to human life and posed threats to animals. Humans extended more and more. To the point wherein humans invaded the places where animals like pandas live.

Illegal Activities

illegal logging effects to endangered species

Regardless of the existing laws to protect animals and the environment, humans continue to do illegal activities.

These include illegal logging, animal poaching, black-market trading, and more. The mentioned problems are the main reasons why there is an increasing rate of endangered animals like pandas and others in the world.

Giant Panda Populations (How many pandas are left in the world today?)

Based on World Wildlife Funds (WWF), there are 1,864 giant pandas in the wild. Furthermore, Pandas International (PI) states that there are an additional 400 pandas in captivity. These numbers reflect a total of 2,264‬ giant pandas in the world now.

On the other hand, their relative animals called red pandas are now enlisted as endangered species. This is due to their declining population in the wild. There are estimated around 10,000 red pandas left in the world today.

With the present population count and considering the remaining numbers of the existing red pandas, are giant pandas endangered in 2020?

The quick answer is no. The enlistment of endangered animals is not just about the number. It talks about their capacity to reproduce and the places where they are expected to encounter.

What causes giant pandas to be endangered?

Habitat Loss

In China, where do giant pandas live, there is a strong force of modernization. This modernization causes invasion of the dwelling places of the giant pandas. They will build infrastructures at the expense of the giant panda habitat.

Adapting Difficulties

Unlike other animals, giant pandas are primarily dependent on bamboo. Their digestive system is made for eating bamboo.

Although they sometimes eat other food, it cannot help them live longer without bamboo. So if they are not in places where their food supply grows they will die.

This is also the reason why most of the giant pandas are in China. The country where they can live freely in the wild with a sufficient amount of food:

Reproduction Difficulties

Giant pandas have complicated mating practices. Here are giant panda facts from WWF about breeding that you should know:

  • Giant pandas reach sexual maturity at 5.5 to 6.5 years.
  • A female can mate with several males, who compete over her.
  • A male will seek out different females who are on heat.
  • The mating season is in spring between March and May.
  • Males and females usually associate for no more than 2-4 days.
  • Gestation takes from 95-160 days.
  • Pandas normally give birth to single young
  • Twins are born more frequently in captivity when artificial insemination is used.
  • The reproductive rate is about 1 cub every 2 years.

Animal Poaching

giant panda skin removal
Photo Source: Quora

The thick black and white fur of the panda sells at a high price on the black market. This is mainly the reason why there are still people who illegally hunt giant pandas.

Even though there are strict laws about it, some people are still doing this animal cruelty.

On the other hand, there other species of pandas called red pandas are now enlisted as endangered species. Here are the reasons why their conservation status is becoming worse:

Deforestation Struggles

The continuous cutting down of trees endangers the animals that dwell on them.

Animals like squirrels, red pandas, and others lose their habitat. This action forces them to move from one place to another which is hard for them because of their geographical ability to survive.

Accidental Trapping

Hunters who use traps in the forest to hunt for animals to eat can create great danger among the animals that move from one place to another due to human illegal activities. 

The traps they set don’t choose what animals to trap or not. So if highly sensitive animals like red pandas are trapped, they are more likely to die.

Illegal Pet Trading

red panda illegal pet trading

Red pandas are undeniably attractive. However, they are not domesticated animals.

It only means they can’t co-exist with humans, unlike cats and dogs. Living with humans can cause them extreme fear which may eventually lead to their death.

Animal Poaching

The bright reddish cappuccino-colored fur of the red pandas makes a good amount of money in the black market. It is the main reason why illegal hunters target them.

These illegal activities greatly affected the red pandas. It makes them part of the list of endangered animals in the world. There are more or less 10,000 remaining red pandas in the world.

Panda Conservation Status

The conservation status of pandas is vulnerable. What does it mean? Here’s a description of vulnerable species.

A creature is considered vulnerable species if:

Population Reduction Rate

Population declines than 30% (for unknown reasons) or 50% (for known reasons).

Geographic Range

Existence in the areas where they are expected to live gets lower.

Population Size

Mature individuals are fewer than 10,000 or the total population or declines at least 10% within 10 years.

Population Restrictions

Their ability to reproduce in a certain area gets lower.

Probability of Extinction

The probability of extinction reaches 10% within 100 years.

According to WWF, The Red List is the world’s most comprehensive inventory on the global conservation status of plants and animals. Every 5 years the IUCN evaluates the population status of each species and the threats to each one’s survival.

Based on that information the IUCN assigns each species a category. These categories are:

  • Extinct – the species no longer exist.
  • Extinct in the Wild – the species only exist in captivity.
  • Critically Endangered – the species has an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered – the species has a very high risk of critical endangerment.
  • Vulnerable – the species has a high risk of endangerment.
  • Threatened – the species has a high possibility of vulnerability.
  • Near Threatened – the species will not have critical threats in the near future.
  • Least Concern – the species has a lower chance of extinction in the future.
  • Domesticated – the existence of the species is normal.

How to prevent giant pandas’ extinction?

Video Source: RT Documentary (YouTube)

Step 1: Donate or Adopt

There are dedicated institutions like World Wildlife Funds and Pandas International that aim for the welfare of the giant pandas. You have two options to help them save the pandas.

To donate is where you send them financial assistance for panda conservation. On the other hand, to adopt is where you apply for symbolic adoption of the pandas and in return, you will receive items. These items correspond to the adoption level that you apply for.

Step 2: Take Action

There are ways on how to further help them. Help them through direct action. You can join the team that will physically take care of the pandas and their environment.

You can also help through indirect action by promoting the concerned organization to other people to increase the support that they will receive.

Step 3: Be Eco-Friendly

Never use anything that can harm the environment. Also, discourage any forms of illegal actions towards the environment.

Simply because no matter where you are, the inappropriate action towards the environment will always contribute to climate change, which is not good for the pandas and other animals.

Conclusion

In this article, you learned that giant pandas are no longer endangered species. They are now vulnerable species. It is a step away from their feared extinction.

However, people should not let their guard down. They are still at high endangered risk. Nevertheless, there are ways on how to save pandas from the worst-case scenario of extinction.

You can reach out to the official and legitimate organizations to know how you can contribute to their advocacy towards the welfare of the giant pandas. You can also save giant pandas, through major or simple actions.

At the end of the day, our actions will always have a result. Choose to do what will promote the common good for man, animals, and the environment.

Did you find this article informative? Share this with your friends and don’t forget to comment your thoughts down below.

Below is a Pinterest friendly-photo… so you can pin it to your “Panda” Board!


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