Panda Updates – Monday, September 9
Based on the latest data sourced from the IUCN Red List, the giant panda population is estimated to be around 2,000. However, most recent sampling surveys of their geographic range shows their numbers rising. This is due to conservation efforts such as “forest protection and reforestation measures” that have been promoted in China (FAO 2010). For years, giant pandas have been thought of as an “umbrella species”. This means that by protecting giant pandas throughout their native range, other animals that share the same habitat are also protected. A study in 2015 determined that giant pandas are indeed an umbrella species. The studies author Stuart Pimm stated, “96 percent of this range overlaps with important conservation areas for other endemic forest species”. Efforts like protecting forests, creating wildlife corridors between fragmented land, and limiting other human caused threats will ensure that not only giant pandas’ numbers will continue to keep climbing, but other species as well. It’s important to note that more could be done to protect a variety of amphibian and bird species that fall outside protected ranges. By increasing the number of protected lands throughout China it will ensure other animals share the same role as an umbrella species like the giant panda ensure the survival of many other species.
Study mentioned: Li, Binbin V., Pimm, Stuart L., Li. China’s endemic vertebrates sheltering under the protective umbrella of the giant panda. Conservation Biology. 2015.
Keeper I, Mammals