BEIJING, China: The giant panda has been removed from the endangered species list by China.
Officials report that there are 1,800 giant pandas in China today.
Cui Shuhong, head of China’s Department of Natural Ecological Protection, said Wednesday that the panda will now be classified as “vulnerable,” rather than endangered.
“China has established a relatively complete nature reserves system,” Cui said during a news conference, according to CNN. “Large areas of natural ecosystems have been systematically and completely protected, and wildlife habitats have been effectively improved.”
He also said China has enlarged its panda habitats throughout the country and more bamboo has been planted in China for the pandas to feed on.
Past conservation efforts in China have also helped preserve Siberian tigers, amur leopards, Asian elephants and the crested ibis.
China’s removing pandas from the endangered list comes nearly five years after the International Union for Conservation of Nature removed the panda from its endangered species list.
The giant pandas were declared endangered in 1990. Their numbers have slowly increased from about 1,600 in 2003 to current levels of more than 1,800.