Should Giant Panda Be Left to Face Extinction ?

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1. Description and Current Situation of Giant panda

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is world’s beloved animals and regarded as a national treasure in China. The panda is rarest member of the bear family and wears a distinctive black and white coat.

Fig1 Source: telegraph.co.uk

Fig1 Source: telegraph.co.uk

Pandas are home to mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they feed almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, a formidable task for which they use their enlarged wrist bones that function as opposable thumbs.

A new-born panda is about the size of new-born mouse—about 1/900th the size of adult panda— but they can grow to up to 330 pounds as an adult.  Unfortunately, it is becoming one of the most endangered species and Chinese government has estiabled some national parks to conserve giant pandas.

2. Recent Controversy on Panda Protection

As the video shows, although some people do not protest the protection of giant panda, they argue that governments should not put millions and millions dollars to conserve just one species. There are many endangered species that we should protect.

Protecting giant panda is difficult and money-consuming. Giant panda is home to western China and lives in forests. modern development in China has destroyed some of forests and The Giant Panda’s diet consists almost entirely of bamboo, therefore with bamboo levels decreasing due to de-forestation, the Panda’s natural food source is disappearing. Therefore,as the Fig shows, if governments want to protect them, they must establish protection centre. For example, Chinese government has establish giant panda reserve centre. Some people think It is money-consuming to protect just one species. The government should use this money to protect more species or improve national welfare.

Map of Giant Panda Reserve Centre

Map of Giant Panda Reserve Centre

Giant panda has very low production rates. In the wild, females give birth to one cub roughly every two years, and in captivity it has proved extremely difficult to make Pandas breed. For whatever reason, the animals seem to lose interest in breeding, or the right conditions are not present in captivity to induce reproduction. Therefore, governments alway use artificial insemination which is costly to conduct and the success rate is not that satisfactory.

Staff from the National Zoological Park perform an artifical insemination on the giant panda

Staff from the National Zoological Park perform an artifical insemination on the giant panda

3. Personal Opinion on Gaint Panda Protection

Although the protection of giant panda is money-consuming and  is widely considerd as unworthy actions. In my opinion, the protection of giant panda is a necessary process because of specific values. The reason as follows:

(1) The protection of giant panda promotes the conservation cooperation between countries. Therefore, this process can improve the awareness of biodiversity protection around the world.

(2) The giant panda symbolic to China, Chinese government promote the relationship between countries by sending pandas.

In conclusion, even though the protection of giant panda is costly and difficult, we should not stop protecting them because of its specific values.

Resource:

(1) Environmental Economics:

http://www.env-econ.net/2013/02/defining-value-one-giant-panda-at-a-time.html

(2) WWF.Giant Panda

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/giant-panda

(3) Quake leaves pandas in dire need of bamboo

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-05/25/content_6710090.htm

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About Biodiversity Conservation Blog

I am an Associate Professor at The Australian National University and convene a (very awesome) course called Biodiversity Conservation. Myself and students in the course contribute to this blog.
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One Response to Should Giant Panda Be Left to Face Extinction ?

  1. Chloe says:

    Interesting topic! I’d love to get a better idea about threatened species management in China and how it compares with the triage process being gradually rolled out and implemented in Australia. How are funds allocated to threatened species – and do the points you raised (e.g. increasing conservation awareness and symbolic relationships between countries) justify the level of funding currently allocated to Pandas?

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