The giant panda is no longer an endangered species, following decades of work by conservationists to save it.
The official status of the much-loved animal has been changed from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a population rebound in China.
The change was announced as part of an update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
But the update also brought bad news. The eastern gorilla, the world’s largest primate, is now endangered as its number has declined more than 70% in the past two decades.
For the Pandas, efforts by China, which claims the giant panda as its national animal, have brought its numbers back from the brink. The latest estimates show a population of 1,864 adults.
There are no exact figures for the numbers of cubs, but estimates bring the total number of giant pandas to 2,060.
But the rebound could be short-lived, the IUCN warned. Climate change is predicted to wipe out more than one-third of the panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years.
While a surge of illegal hunting has taken the eastern gorilla in the other direction, reducing its numbers to just 5,000 across the globe.
Four out of six of the Earth’s great apes are now critically endangered – the eastern gorilla, western gorilla, Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan.
The IUCN Red List includes 82,954 species, both plants and animals. Almost one third, 23,928, are listed as being threatened with extinction.