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Giant panda population rises by nearly 17 percent (March 2, by Jeremy Hance)

Giant panda at the Panda Breeding Centre in the Wolong Panda Reserve. Photo by: 
© Bernard de Wetter / WWF.

The world’s giant panda population has risen by 16.8 percent. It has gained 268 individuals over the last decade, hitting a total of 1,864 animals, according to China’s fourth decadal survey.

Found only in China, giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The only surviving member of its genus,  the giant panda lives almost solely on bamboo. It’s currently threatened by habitat loss and degradation.

Giant panda eating bamboo. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Not only are the pandas increasing in number but their range is also increasing. The species now covers 2.57 million hectares with about a third of the animals inhabiting range outside of protected areas.
China is fairly proud of this achievement and hopes to see the population continue to grow.

Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0302-hance-giant-panda-population.html#ixzz3TSQR4R8P

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