BEIJING — China said Tuesday it will no longer allow giant pandas to be exported for exhibition in the United States in an apparent response to mounting criticism that the practice was further endangering the species.
A spokesman for the Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Import and Export Administrative Office said his agency will not issue export permits for giant pandas because requests "have become too numerous," the New China News Agency reported.
Fewer than 1,000 pandas survive in the wild, scattered across 12 reserves in China's Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. Last June, Beijing tightened the lending of pandas, requiring foreign groups to seek permission from the central government.
In Washington, World Wildlife Fund spokesman Ken Cook endorsed China's decision to stop panda exports, saying that being shipped abroad may upset a breeding-age panda that could reproduce if left to its normal life.