This endangered species is one of the most well-known and well-loved in the world.

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Protecting the Giant Panda

A target for poachers since ancient times, due to its thick fur, the Giant Panda has been a species in decline for many decades. Its low birthrate and decreasing habitat have not helped matters. In 2006, population numbers in the wild were thought to be around 1000, though it has since been suggested that this number was underestimated. In  2016, the Giant Panda was reclassified from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ suggesting that targeted breeding programs were working.

Chinese and American scientists are still studying giant pandas and their habits as part of a major conservation programme. A process to make bamboo flower early may well have a huge bearing on the panda's chances. Zoos around the world are participating in panda breeding programmes. There is still hope that with human help, the giant panda can survive in the wild.

Despite their popularity with the public and their use as the logo of the World Wildlife Fund, not everyone believes that the money spent on conserving the giant panda is worth it. Naturalist Chris Packham has argued that the breeding of pandas in captivity is "pointless" because "there is not enough habitat left to sustain them”.

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