Yes. This was a huge problem in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1984, the giant panda was classified as high priority in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This Convention, with the acronym CITIES, is an important conservation agreement that deals with generally illegal trade practices of endangered species. The WWF, which chose the panda as its symbol when it started in 1961, has taken strong action to protect them. Today, more than 60% of them are protected, but there are less than 2500 mature pandas in the wild, according to the WWF. Poaching still occurs and is a risk to the small population, as is habitat degradation.In China, if someone is convicted of panda poaching, he can receive over 10 years in prison. Before 1997, the sentence could be death.
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