A giant panda walks through foliage at the Beijing Zoo on June 5, 2012 in Beijing, China. The giant panda dwell in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. (Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
The giant panda’s habitat is smaller and more fragmented than when it landed on the endangered species list, despite recently growing population numbers, a new study shows.
The study used geospatial technologies and remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes and the development of roads within the panda’s habitat.
“The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently changed the status of the giant panda from ‘endangered’ to the less threatened ‘vulnerable,'” says Stuart L. Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “This was based on the increasing numbers, which are a very encouraging sign, of course.”