Giant Pandas ( Ailuropoda Melanoleuca ) Essay

Giant Pandas ( Ailuropoda Melanoleuca ) Essay

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Giant Pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are an endangered species of large terrestrial mammal occupying about isolated areas of mountain forest (WWF, 2014a) in China. These forests are areas of high biodiversity and likely contain a wide variety of unknown species. It is, therefore, important to protect them. As a result of the ongoing conservation of Pandas, the habitat is relatively secure, gradually increasing and becoming less isolated due to new corridors (China’s Ministry of Forestry & WWF, 1989) between forests. “The provincial governments of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu, working closely with WWF, have been creating new nature reserves and extending existing reserves.” (WWF, 2014a). The geographical range of this species used to be a much larger area until it was severely affected by factors changed by humans such as significant climatic changes combined with thousands of years of cultivation of lower and flatter habitats (Schaller et al. 1985). The Panda’s total range now covers roughly 30,000 km2 (The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 2014). The most recent census, 2000-2002, concludes roughly 1600 Pandas are alive in the wild. This is an increase of over 40% from the 1980s, but is assumed to be down to the different survey method and wider search area (WWF, 2014a). It is still believed that the population trend of Giant Pandas is decreasing. There has been a recent controversy on whether spending millions of pounds on the conservation of Giant Pandas is a good idea. It is this argument that I will be discussing in this essay.
Without our costly conservation, Giant Pandas have little hope. These Pandas are disease prone, incredibly difficult to breed in captivity and their already restricted range is under constant pressur...

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... effort, money and time spent, the Public may lose hope for conservation all together. This would jeopardise the future of the forests and the wildlife within them. It may even lead to great decreases in donations to nature conservation organisations and the loss of more endangered species and habitats.

There is no doubt that the conservation of Giant Pandas has allowed the protection of large areas of forest and untold numbers of species. We are not spending all of these resources of the sole conversation of the Giant Panda itself. It is simply the symbol of conservation which brings in donations and helps the local flora and fauna. When it is put like this, millions of pounds to protect tens of thousands of square kilometres of montane forest doesn’t seem like such a waste after all. So, in answer to the question: ‘Should we bother?’ – Yes, I believe we should.

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