Good news is hard to come by these days, especially when it comes to the environment.

That’s why we’re cracking out the celebratory shoots / leaves at the v. happy news giant pandas have officially come off the global list of ‘endangered’ animals.

Giant Panda No Longer An Endangered Species, Free To Be Kawaii 5eva

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced its status has been downgraded to ‘vulnerable’ on the Red List of Threatened Species, pointing to the 17% increase in the giant panda population in the decade up to 2014, when a China-wide census found 1,864 giant pandas living in the wild.

“For over fifty years, the giant panda has been the globe’s most beloved conservation icon as well as the symbol of WWF. Knowing that the panda is now a step further from extinction is an exciting moment for everyone committed to conserving the world’s wildlife and their habitats,” says a stoked Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General. “The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity.”

WWF has been working tirelessly with the Chinese government on initiatives to help save giant pandas and their habitat, including helping increase the number of panda reserves to 67, which now protect nearly two-thirds of all wild pandas. 

It’s excellent progress, but that doesn’t mean giant pandas and their kind are still totally out of the woods; much of their habitat is still under threat from infrastructure projects that would see bamboo-heavy areas cleared to make way for buildings – something the WWF is committed to stopping.

For now, though, they’re free to be cute and multiply.

Giant Panda No Longer An Endangered Species, Free To Be Kawaii 5eva

Source and photo: WWF.