China’s panda population on the rise

China’s most recent survey of the panda population estimates that 1,864 pandas now live in the wild. That’s a 16.8% increase since the previous survey, which was released ten years ago.

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Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca); Giant panda Chengdu Breeding Centre Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China © Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon

But how do these new results compare with past figures ? The first survey (1974-77) found 2,459 giant pandas in the wild, while the second (1985-88) found evidence of 1,114. The third survey, which was published in 2004, reported that the number grew to 1,596.

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Giant pandas. Sichuan Province, China. © Michel Gunther / WWF-Canon

The latest rise is particularly encouraging because the 2004 numbers increased largely due to better research techniques and surveying a wider area. The new figures show that when strong conservation leadership from governments is combined with partnerships with organizations, communities and individuals, nature and people can thrive. This is good news for people and pandas alike!
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Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in a tree. Wolong Panda Reserve, Sichuan Province, China. © Bernard De Wetter / WWF-Canon