Pandas taken off the endangered list

Pandas were taken off the endangered species list in 2016 and their status downgraded to vulnerable.

The move follows decades of work to enforce poaching bans, expand forest reserves and in particular is due to the success of breeding programmes like that at the Chengdu Panda Research Centre.

It has developed the world's largest artificial population of captive pandas.

The centre started in the 1970's with just six sick and starving pandas and now has more than 170.

The Chinese government has been cautious in it's welcome of the change in panda status, they maintain that the animal is still under serious threat.

Beijing has thrown its weight behind preserving the panda by investing billions in conservation.

They have also sent pandas to zoos around the world as a goodwill gesture.

Two were sent to the UK in 2011 - Tian Tian and Yang Guang - who are at Edinburgh Zoo where they are yet to successfully mate.

The same report that took pandas off the endangered species list raised concern about the animal's main food source.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature warned that although better forest protection has helped increase panda numbers, climate change poses at threat to the animals natural bamboo habitat.

It is predicted to decline by 35% over the next 80 years.

Bamboo is predicted to decline by 35% over the next 80 years.

At the Chengdu Panda Research Centre they are constantly working to understand the animal better.

They are testing every day to learn more about its physical makeup an its behaviour.

This summer their work to improve panda reproduction paid off with one of the most successful breeding seasons in the Centre's history.

Their aim is now to replicate the success they've had in captivity, with pandas in the wild.

For China that would be the ultimate sign of progress.

Panda's status has been downgraded to vulnerable