Over at Sina and Chinasmack, people are reacting to the remarks from English naturalist, nature photographer, BBC television presenter and author Chris Packham when he said that humans should not spend vast amounts of money to protect giant pandas, but rather let them naturally die off.
In fact, he says, “I would eat the last panda if I could have all the money we have spent on panda conservation put back on the table for me to do more sensible things with.”
An ex-carnivore bamboo muncher unfortunately ends up in the most populated place on earth. Its food predictably all dies with disastrous regularity and its digestive system is poorly adapted to its diet. It’s slow to reproduce, tastes good, but in a blind strike of evolutionary luck it is plump, cute and cuddly. That is from an anthropological point of view. So given only the latter in the formative days of conservation the pioneers choose it as a symbol and begin to investigate its conservation. Panda porn, or the lack of it, made us all giggle in the sixties and seventies and gradually the fat pied ones became greater than the sum of the sense in keeping them alive. But having spent so much it’s very difficult to stop. We are now spending millions and millions of dollars on a loser which lives in a country being stormed by the whole worlds greedy despite its horrible politics. It’s Catch 22 for Pandas and we’re caught by the credit cards despite our very own desperate credit crisis. So I say stop, save our relatively paltry funds for cases where we can make a real difference, because that’s our job. [full story]
About the giant panda, Packham says, “It’s got everything going against it. Furthermore, it’s gone down an evolutionary bottleneck where we could just let it go.” And of course, tons of money gets spent on “charismatic animals” which are virtually unsavable, while other species — like insects and rodents — or entire habitats are left to die.
He’s got a lot of good points — if people weren’t spending so much money to save them, these fuzzy animals would probably have already gone extinct on its own. And, he is even in alignment with the WWF on a lot of the points… except for the “letting pandas go extinct” part, of course. Then again, the case for saving the panda could be used as a vehicle to save panda habitats — bamboo forests — which are also facing destruction. What do you think?
As for me, I’m just looking for an excuse to write about pandas so I can link back to this post and awesome image about a PANDA ATTACK!!!
* I didn’t know how to categorize this post, so I put it in “Food & Drink” since Packham talked about eating pandas. To quote Moye: why you bite me?? ;_;
(Flickr photo credit, with apologies: fujikinoko)