Iconic Species Added and Removed from Endangered Lists

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Iconic Species Added and Removed from Endangered Lists

Grace Bentley

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The Giant Panda, native to the bamboo forests of China, has been removed from the endangered list, according to the most recent IUCN report. It is now considered to be a vulnerable species.

Due to strong efforts of reforestation in Chinese bamboo forests, forest protection laws, strict hunting laws, and high-profile campaigns to save the species, the population has increased 17% from 2004 to 2014. The total number, which used to be at 1,596, is now at 1,864.

While the panda population is recovering, the IUCN warns that the Giant Pandas are not in a safe spot. “Although the population is currently increasing, climate change is predicted to eliminate >35% of the Panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years, and thus the Panda population is projected to decline.”

A panda bear sitting in a garden

Many zoos, such as the Smithsonian National Zoo, celebrate Giant Panda breeding and rising numbers in parties such as this birthday party for one year old Bei Bei. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

However, in more pressing matters, many creatures have been added to the endangered, critically endangered, and extinct lists. Among the species listed, the Eastern Gorilla, the largest primate and one of the closest-related species to humans, has been named critically endangered.

western gorilla
The Eastern Gorilla joins the Western Gorilla on the critical endangered. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.

The Eastern Gorilla joins the Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutan, and Sumatran Orangutan as four of the six great apes on the critically endangered list, while the Chimpanzee and Bonobo remain on the endangered list.

Since 1996, the Eastern Gorilla population has suffered a “devastating population decline of more than 70 percent,” according to the IUCN, and the population lays at a little less than 5,000. The causes for the rapid drop can be attributed to illegal hunting, loss of environment, and the civil wars in Rwanda and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The population in 1994 was 16,800; in 2016, it is at just 3,800.

The IUCN is an international organization that works to conserve the many diverse species of Earth, through gathering data, publishing annual reports such as the Red List, advocacy, and teaching about nature conservation. You can donate to the IUCN today.