Chinese Panda Census Offers Hope as Sunshine and Sweetie Fly In

Conservation efforts are expected to have had an impact on the population numbers of giant pandas in China, as researchers conduct a census of the endangered and beloved creatures. Edinburgh, Scotland is preparing to receive a gift of two from Chengdu. The Guardian reports:

The two-year survey in the mountains of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu is the most comprehensive and sophisticated study ever made of the wild population – currently estimated at 1,600 pandas – and their habitat.

[…] Conservationists and government officials believe the survey will show modest success from the creation of about 50 panda reserves and a multibillion dollar campaign to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity.

Thousands of scientists and volunteers will take part in the study.

The results will not be available until at least 2013, but one of the senior technical advisers, Wei Fuwen of the Institute of Zoology, was optimistic.

“The number of pandas has definitely increased due to the laws and regulations that have been passed to protect the species and the forests. But it is too early to say how much of a rise there has been.”

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