The world’s most iconic endangered species may not be seriously endangered much longer.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature says it is considering downgrading giant pandas—a species so well known for being nearly extinct that the World Wildlife Fund uses one as its logo—from “endangered” to “vulnerable” on its Red List of threatened species.
The IUCN says this is because giant panda populations have been booming in recent years, both in captivity and in the wild.
“Once a better understanding of biology and behaviour was incorporated into husbandry, captive pandas began to mate naturally and experienced exponential population growth,” the organization told the London Evening Standard.
Giant pandas have been on the endangered species list for more than 25 years. In the 1970s, experts estimated that there were only about 1,000 of them left in the world. Today there are more than 1,800—still not a huge number, but enough of a step in the right direction to make any conservationist a happy panda.