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Although giant panda's populations are rising, their conservation status is still uncertain, according to a study published Monday in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Researchers found the panda's habitat is smaller and more fragmented than it was when the bear was first put on the endangered species list in 1990.

Why it matters: Thanks in large part to China's efforts to restore the bamboo-eating bear's habitat, the panda population has been growing, and last year the bear was reclassified from endangered to vulnerable by the IUCN. But if that same habitat is becoming more fragmented, the improvements made might not be enough to support a growing population.

What they did: The researchers compared satellite images from 1976, 1988, 2001 and 2013.

  • From 1976-2001, the habitat increased by 4.9 percent, and has only gone up by 0.4% since 2001.
  • From 1976-2001, the average size of a roadless forest patch decreased by 24%, and grew 1.8% since 2001.

The bottom line: Moving pandas from the endangered to threatened list last fall was "a recognition of panda conservation success so far. But pandas are still facing threats, especially climate change. It does not mean that panda conservation should stop," study author Jianguo Liu told Ben Guarino of the Washington Post.

Go deeper

Mayors press Biden to adopt progressive immigration agenda

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A coalition of nearly 200 mayors and county executives is challenging Joe Biden and the incoming Congress to adopt a progressive immigration agenda that would give everyone a pathway to citizenship.

Why it matters: The group's goals, set out in a white paper released today, seem to fall slightly to the left of what the president-elect plans to propose on Inauguration Day — though not far — and come at a time of intense national polarization over immigration.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
19 mins ago - Health

Demand for coronavirus vaccines is outstripping supply

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Now that nearly half of the U.S. population could be eligible for coronavirus vaccines, America is facing the problem experts thought we’d have all along: demand for the vaccine is outstripping supply.

Why it matters: The Trump administration’s call for states to open up vaccine access to all Americans 65 and older and adults with pre-existing conditions may have helped massage out some bottlenecks in the distribution process, but it’s also led to a different kind of chaos.

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.