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The latest census in 2014 found that there were 1,864 giant pandas alive in the wild.

While still very low, this represents a real success story, with numbers increasing from around 1,000 in the late 1970s.

In the past decade, giant panda numbers have risen by 17 percent.

© / Eric Baccega / WWF

How do you count pandas?
Finding out how many pandas exist in the wild is not an easy task.

In fact, it requires a massive effort, with teams of researchers spending many hours trekking through steep, mountainous bamboo forests looking for telltale signs. In particular, for dung!

Often, they have to walk for days, inspecting every metre of the forest floor for panda poop!

When they find some, they sift through it and pick out any pieces of undigested bamboo. And by carefully studying any bite marks, it is possible to identify individual pandas because their bite marks are all unique (a bit like fingerprints).

Each team is composed of 40 people and can cover around 80km2 of remote, difficult terrain every day.
Panda’s feces found in Longxi-Hongkou survey. 
© Jiang Zhongjun
Panda’s feces found in Longxi-Hongkou survey.
© Jiang Zhongjun
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