Saving the giant panda is one of the big success stories of conservation. Decades of efforts to create protected habitat for the iconic mammal has pulled it back from the brink of extinction.
But, according to a new study, while many other animals in the same landscape have benefited from this conservation work, some have lost out.
Leopards, wolves, and Asian wild dogs have almost disappeared from majority of protected areas.Driven to near extinction by logging, poaching and disease, their loss could lead to “major shifts, even collapse, in ecosystems,” said researchers in China.
Without the likes of leopards and wolves, deer and livestock can roam unchecked, causing damage to natural habitats, with knock-on effects for other wildlife, including pandas themselves.
A team of researchers now says a broader – holistic – approach is needed to manage the ecosystem in which the panda lives – one that ensures key species don’t lose out.