China's latest survey finds increase in wild giant pandas
(AP)—Wild giant pandas in China are doing well. According to a census by China's State Forestry Administration, the panda population has grown by 268 to a total of 1,864 since the last survey ending in 2003.
Nearly three quarters of the pandas live in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The remaining pandas were found in the neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
China began surveying its giant pandas in the 1970s. The latest census began in 2011 and took three years to complete.
The number of giant pandas in captivity grew by 211, more than double the previous survey figure, according to the census released Saturday.
The administration said China has set up 27 new preservation areas for giant pandas, contributing to the growth in their numbers.
Economic development remains a threat to the rare animal and its habitat. The survey has found 319 hydropower stations and 1,339 kilometers (832 miles) of roads in the giant panda's habitat.
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