Michael Gwyther-Jones/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Giant pandas threatened by not-so-giant habitats

Even though the giant panda’s extinction status was downgraded from endangered to vulnerable last year, the bears still face an uphill battle for survival. In a study in Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists used satellites to evaluate how much habitable land area remained for the animals as well as how fragmented the territory was. The total range for the bears decreased by 5% between 1976 and 2001, and the average size of a habitat patch decreased by nearly a quarter, BBC reports. Human activities, especially road building and agriculture, are the primary causes of the fragmentation and scientists say that to protect the remaining 1800 wild pandas, we’ll need to figure out ways to reconnect those habitats and create better wildlife corridors.