Photo taken in Oct. 2020 shows a giant panda marking its territory in the woods at the Fengtongzhai National Nature Reserve in Baoxing County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. (Fengtongzhai National Nature Reserve/Handout via Xinhua)
BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The status of wild giant pandas in China has been downgraded from "endangered" to "vulnerable" amid the country's active efforts on biodiversity protection and ecological restoration, an official said Wednesday.
Populations of several rare and endangered species have gradually recovered. The numbers of Siberian tigers, Asian elephants and crested ibises have grown rapidly, Ministry of Ecology and Environment official Cui Shuhong told a press conference.
Rare and endangered species such as the wild giant panda, Tibetan antelope and milu deer are living in better environments. The giant panda has been removed from the list of endangered animals, with 1,800 of them now living in the wildness, he said.
Cui attributed the improvement in the living conditions of China's wildlife to the country's drive in establishing a relatively complete system of nature reserves, which protects large areas of natural ecosystems systematically and completely.
By the end of 2019, China had 11,800 nature reserves, accounting for 18 percent of the country's land area and meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets goal of protecting 17 percent of terrestrial areas ahead of schedule, he said, adding that the country also set up botanical gardens and wildlife breeding bases and successfully bred a large number of rare and endangered species.
China's ecological conservation and restoration projects, such as forest and wetland protection initiatives and the fishing ban in the Yangtze River basin, have facilitated the recovery of rare and endangered species, he said.
Looking ahead, the country will build a comprehensive monitoring system for biodiversity conservation, enhance international cooperation and promote public participation, he added. ■