According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were an estimated 1,600 pandas living in the wild during 2004. That is an increase of 600 from the 1988 estimate.
The WWF states that, to develop accurate estimates of the panda population, researchers travel to China's bamboo forests and mountainous regions. They search for panda droppings, which are inspected for undigested bits of bamboo. Bite marks of individual pandas are recognizable.
To a large extent, pandas are endangered because of habitat loss, poaching and illegal animal trading, says the WWF. However, cooperative recovery efforts are in place that seem to be helping the panda population increase.