This week, the world will celebrate the 100th birthday of one of the most iconic animals on Earth: the red panda.
But as it turns out, the species’ extinction risk isn’t as dire as it once was.
In fact, according to new research from a group of researchers, the red pandas are on the cusp of a comeback, and they may not be that far off.
The new study finds that pandas, while once critically endangered, are on track to recover and be back on the endangered species list in 2020.
While red panders have been the subject of intense international attention, it’s the other animals on the planet who will bear the brunt of this year’s threat.
How did we get here?
“The red panda’s comeback is not yet guaranteed,” said University of Texas at Austin ecologist Richard Wigley, the study’s lead author.
“There’s still a long way to go, but it seems likely that the red Pandas are well on their way.”
The red pandal is the world’s most endangered and endangered species, with the species listed as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Wiggy was an undergraduate at Texas A&M University in the late 1980s, and his research focused on how red pandals respond to climate change and human activity.
“It was one of those projects that was a combination of a little bit of everything, and a lot of research,” he said.
“I got a lot out of it, and then I found out about this thing called the Red Pandas and they became a real problem.
The idea was to see if they would do better under the circumstances.”
He was looking for a way to help red pandics adapt to a changing climate and find new prey in the wild.
That’s when he first saw the red panthers in the American Southwest, which are now known as the “reds.”
But it wasn’t until his work on the reds that he learned that the species was on the brink of a dramatic comeback.
“We saw some changes in their behaviour and behavior in their habitat,” he recalled.
“And that was something that I had to study.
It was really exciting to find out that they were doing better than they were.
That really excited me, and that really inspired me to get a little more involved in it.”
Wigly’s research eventually led to the discovery of a new, endangered species called the Eurasian red pandan, or the Eurasia red pandas, which is on the IUCN Red List and can be found in Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, and parts of China.
That species is now listed as a critically endangered species by the IBCN, but Wigy’s team found that the Eurasians are on a path to recovery.
“The Eurasian population is about one-third to one-half of the population of the redpandas,” Wigles said.
“[The Eurasians] are actually at the forefront of the effort to make sure that the rest of the world is looking at these species as seriously endangered.”
And their numbers are growing rapidly.
“That’s a real positive sign, that they’re making progress,” Wigs said.
Red pandas were once widespread across Eurasia and parts (including China and Mongolia) of North America, but the species disappeared in the mid-1800s due to hunting and pollution.
The species has since been re-established in a number of regions and countries, but they are still listed as critically endangered in several countries around the world.
“Their population is growing faster than it was in the 1800s, so it’s kind of a slow recovery process,” Wrigley said.
As a result, many researchers have warned that the future of the species is “very uncertain.”
This is a major problem for the world, because we don’t know what our future will look like if red pandors are not protected.
“They’re an amazing species and we should not forget that,” said Robert Sivak, a senior fellow at the Center for Biological Diversity, who has been critical of the IPCN’s red pander listing.
“This is a very, very, unique species that deserves the protection it has.”
Wigs’ team’s work also found that a number species of red pandans, including the Asian red panders and the red-tailed hawks, are also thriving in their habitats, and some of these populations are now on track for recovery.
But, for now, the most vulnerable species on the Red List are the Eurasias, and if red pands don’t receive a major boost from the international community, there’s a chance they could be wiped out entirely.
And if that happens, Wigs warns, it could be a huge loss for people around the globe.
“For the last 200 years, we’ve really been focused on the