Giant Panda
[Rob Schleiffert - Chengdu giant panda - Creative Commons License]

Wonderful, wonderful news! Giant pandas in China are no longer considered an endangered species, according to Chinese conservation officials.

China’s devotion to conservation initiatives and maintaining nature reserves has paid off with a substantial increase in the giant panda population in the wild. The total is now up to 1,800 pandas.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said Wednesday that the status of giant pandas had been updated to “vulnerable,” Xinhua reports.

According to the outlet, as a result of conscious initiatives, there has been a welcome ripple effect, in that Asian elephants, crested ibises, and even the endangered Siberian tiger have also begun to thrive and have seen their population gradually increase.

Social media exploded with overwhelmingly positive feedback over the welcome announcement, with related hashtags being read over 10 million times on Weibo.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) noted that giant pandas still have an uphill battle ahead.

They pointed out that 35% of their habitat could vanish in the next 80 years due to climate change.

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