A panda is eating bamboo. (Photo from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding)
A panda is eating bamboo. (Photo from Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding)

The number of giant pandas in captivity worldwide reached 633 in 2020, thanks to China’s increasing panda breeding and conservation efforts, official data shows.

By Dec. 1, a total of 44 panda cubs had been born and survived in 2020, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration. The number of wild giant pandas in China has increased from 1,114 in the 1980s to 1,864, according to a survey on the panda population.

Meanwhile, the protected panda habitat area has almost doubled to 2.58 million hectares, protecting 66.8 percent of giant pandas living in the wild.

Growth in captive panda numbers resulted from improved breeding technologies, overcoming challenges such as difficulties in giant panda mating and the low survival rate of panda cubs.

So far, nine captive-bred giant pandas have been released into the wild and have survived, the administration said, adding that 61 giant pandas have been involved in the country’s scientific and research cooperation with 22 zoos in 18 countries.

Efforts will be made to strengthen key giant panda breeding and protection technologies, develop panda vaccines and increase the wild panda population, according to the administration.

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