Making a statement about this endangered species, and the increasing dangers to the environment worldwide, members of the then World Wildlife Fund (WWF) placed 1,600 hand-painted figurines in the grounds of the Paris Hôtel de Ville.
The pandas then went on tour, going on display around landmarks, first in Paris and then throughout France.
WWF members used recycled paper, water-based ink and rice glue to create the 40cm high models.
The figure of 1,600 represented the exact number of pandas that a recent survey had reported were living in the wild.
Although the panda is itself an important example of risk to biodiversity, the organisation stressed it was using the animal as a symbol for the wider threat to our environment.
The increase in panda numbers, from a 2001 survey that found 1,100 of them, was attributed in part to the discovery of pandas in new regions of China such as Ningqiang, but WWF also emphasised an improvement in counting methods.