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Pandas no longer endangered

HONOLULU (AFP) – Decades of conservation work in China have paid off for the giant panda, whose status was upgraded Sunday from “endangered” to “vulnerable” due to a population rebound, officials said.

The improvement for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the world’s most comprehensive inventory of plants and animals.

The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adult giant pandas. Although exact numbers are not available, adding cubs to the projection would mean about 2,060 pandas exist today, said the IUCN. “Evidence from a series of range-wide national surveys indicate that the previous population decline has been arrested, and the population has started to increase,” said the IUCN’s updated report.