While giant pandas were removed from the endangered species list in 2016, they are still considered vulnerable to extinction, but you can help change that through environmental activism. Climate change is on track to destroy vast areas of the Chinese bamboo forests they live in. Pandas are far from safe.
According to the latest figures, 1,864 pandas live in the wild today -- up from 1,596 in 2004, thanks to diligent conservation efforts in China. To help that number grow and protect bamboo forests and the thousands of other species that inhabit them, here’s what you can do.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
You can do your part to save pandas by:
- Donating to a charitable organization that protects pandas
- Adapting ecotourism practices
- Sponsoring a panda
- Using recycled paper
- Purchasing carbon offsets
Donate to Charity
Donating to panda conservation projects in China contributes towards specific initiatives, such as nature reserve protection, community development projects and research and monitoring work. According to the World Wildlife Fund, donating $19 could buy film cartridges for infrared cameras used to monitor giant pandas and other animals, $56 could send a ranger on a training course to help collect vital information about the giant panda’s habitat, and $1,392 could save an injured giant panda.
Sponsor a Panda
By sponsoring or adopting a panda at a zoo or other organization, you receive an adoption certificate and receive pictures and information about pandas, and maybe even a stuffed panda, making it a great gift for a child. Your donation goes towards the organization's conservation efforts.
Use Less Paper
Giant pandas live on bamboo, which is scarce because bamboo trees are being cut down to make paper, which is destroying their natural habitat and only food source. By not using fewer paper products, you are helping to protect pandas from extinction. Choose recycled paper products when available, and always recycle them when you are finished with them.
Reduce Travel Impact
Climate change endangers animal species by destroying their habitats and wiping out their food sources. If you travel on transports that emit greenhouse gasses, you contribute to global warming. Walk instead of taking your car or public transport whenever possible. Carpooling, video conferencing and choosing airlines with higher occupancy rates and more efficient aircraft go a long way to reducing travel impacts.
Offset Carbon Emissions
Carbon offsets are available to buy to compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions from traveling. Look for companies that offer Gold Standard carbon credits which lets you measure your carbon footprint and offset it via a range of projects, many of which provide other benefits, such as biodiversity, education, jobs, food security and health in developing countries. Carbon offsets help to compensate for global warming by funding ways to carbon emissions elsewhere.
About the Author
Claire is a writer and editor with 18 years' experience. She writes about science and health for a range of digital publications, including Reader's Digest, HealthCentral, Vice and Zocdoc.