BEIJING: The number of the endangered giant pandas living in captivity globally has reached a record high number of 548, Chinese officials said.
The number of pandas living in the wild was fewer than 2,000, according to official data in 2013.
After decades of caring for giant pandas, China’s panda experts have created sound conditions to raise and breed giant pandas, whose numbers have reached 548, state run Global Times on Friday reported.
Citing quoting a press release of State Forestry and Grassland Administrations (SFGA), it said that 45 of 48 panda cubs born in captivity this year survived.
In the 1990s, the survival rate of captive-born cubs was only 30 per cent.
Forty-three of this year’s surviving newborn giant pandas were born in China; one was born in Japan and the other in Malaysia.
Li Chunliang, vice administrator of the SFGA, said on Thursday that scientists are looking to expand the genetic diversity in their breeding pairs of pandas by avoiding mating pandas that share blood ties.
In 2016, a giant panda named He Sheng was found dead two months after it had been released into the wild. It had been attacked by “unknown animals,” said the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding at the time. Media reported four of the released-to-the-wild pandas have not survived.
The incidents sparked heated discussions, with netizens worried the giant pandas could not survive after being released into the wild.
China is working with 22 zoos and safaris from 17 countries to better protect pandas, Li said, adding that that China has sent 58 pandas to other countries to help local scientists to conduct research and bring joy to local people.
Source: Economic Times