SAN DIEGO (FOX 13) - Although not completely safe, these beautiful giant pandas are no longer on the endangered species list says the San Diego Zoo. Attributed to an increase in their population in China, the lovable giant pandas have been downgraded from being endangered to a now “vulnerable” status. “This iconic species, which is the poster child of endangered species globally, no longer qualifies as endangered,” Ron Swaisgood said.
As chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Swaisgood was the primary author of the report and was responsible for helping to reach the decision. “While we do not believe the giant panda is completely safe, our IUCN Red List evaluation highlights how far we have come in panda conservation,” said Swaisgood, also director of applied animal ecology at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.
“After spending almost two decades as part of the San Diego Zoo’s Giant Panda Team, it is incredibly exciting to see that conservation efforts for giant pandas are having a positive impact,” said Megan Owen, associate director for applied animal ecology at the San Diego Zoo Institute
The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy has played an integral part in panda conservation. The Zoo first introduced two giant pandas on loan from China, decades ago. Their breeding program began after female, Bai Yun arrived in 1996 and she was the first to give birth outside of China. Since then, Bai Yun has given birth to six cubs. Now, she is 24-years-old and one of the oldest pandas to give birth. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can visit Bai Yun and her 4-year-old son Xiao Liwu in their Panda Canyon exhibit.
Those interested in helping San Diego Zoo Global lead the fight against extinction can find out more about becoming a Hero for Wildlife at the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy website: endextinction.org.