But according to this fascinating story in the New York Times, Chinese officials and preservationists have started to work on restoring them and their efforts "could become a model for saving antiquities at other sites." They have done two things--restored the statues and shut down nearby coal mines.
The Times says that restoration efforts began in the 1990's in an effort to get a UNESCO World Heritage designation which came in 2002.
Officials are also developing digital recordings of all the statues. "Those would help with construction of three-dimensional renderings of the caves that visitors and scholars can view," notes the New York Times.
Students might find both the article and the UNESCO site about the caves interesting.