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Census shows China’s wild giant panda population growing

Good news for China’s national treasure: Wild giant pandas, which have spent more than two decades on the endangered species list, are increasing in number.

The species’s population throughout China grew by nearly 17 percent over the past decade, officials said Saturday, according to a census by China’s State Forestry Administration.

The country’s fourth national giant panda survey documented a growth of 268 pandas to a total population of 1,864 in the country since the last census was conducted in 2003 — more than a decade after the species was downgraded from rare to endangered status.

The report found that nearly 67 percent of wild giant pandas live in nature reserves, which also grew in number from 40 to 67, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which partially funded the census.

The giant panda has been the logo for the WWF since its inception in 1961 and has grown to become a worldwide symbol of the conservation movement.