How to Save the Giant Pandas

The GIant Panda is Critically Endangered

The icon of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), the panda bear (known as the Giant Panda) has reached critically endangered status. In fact recently, some have suggested that it is not worth our efforts to continue trying to revive the species. BBC naturalist, Chris Packham made this shocking statement to Radio Times Magazine:

"Here's a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac. It's not a strong species. Unfortunately it's big and cute and it's a symbol of the WWF, and we pour millions of pounds into panda conservation. I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity."

Should we just let the species become extinct? What does that say about humankind as protector and defender of wildlife?

The primary reason that giant pandas are dying out is due to loss of habitat. Pandas rely on bamboo for their primary source of nourishment, and the plant is slow-growing. In their native lands of southeast Asia (primarily China), industrialization has resulted in the clearing of large swaths of bamboo forests, which drive the panda bears farther and farther in search of food. Many die of starvation before they can get to the next forest.

What can you do to help save Giant Pandas?
What can you do to help save Giant Pandas? | Source

What can you Do to Help Save the Panda Bears?

Despite the comments of the BBC naturalist, a show showcases the efforts taken to save the giant panda bears, as well as koalas. Nature's Miracle Babies shows how offspring of endangered animals are born through artificial insemination.

Among other things the BBC series examines the Chinese breeding program of the giant panda (and other endangered species including the Yangtse soft shelled turtle, Amur leopard, Tasmanian Devil, Bonobo chimpanzee, cheetah and the koala).

One of the show's producers had this to say:

"This will be a highly charged personal journey for me. Many of the animals are just a hairs' breadth from extinction and sometimes the hopes of an entire species is concentrated in a few tiny, vulnerable babies.”

A total of five one-hour episodes are planned. However, you'll have to wait until 2011 for the new series to air.

So, what can you do in the meantime, if you are concerned about the plight of the panda bears? There are a number of sites at which you can donate or "adopt" a panda, including the WWF and Pandas International.

You can also help raise awareness regarding the endangered status of the Giant Panda. Here are some fast facts:

  • Pandas have a very small fertility window (5 days) and are picky about their mates. This makes breeding difficult
  • Chinese breeding programs for the Giant Panda utilize some procedures that are more commonly used in human fertility treatment
  • Only about 1,600 Giant Pandas remain in the wild
  • 200 Giant Pandas live in captivity world-wide
  • Panda cubs are a mere 4-6 ounces at birth
  • Giant Pandas can live about 25-30 years in captivity
  • Pandas have become endangered in large part due to loss of habitat and fragmentation of bamboo forest "pockets" in which pandas live, isolated from others
  • Humans are directly responsible for the decline in Giant Panda populations, from forest clearing to poaching to the exploding human population in China - it could be that recent measures are too little, too late

Giant pandas are endangered
Giant pandas are endangered | Source

How did the Giant Panda Become Endangered?

The Giant Panda is a member of the bear family. However, unlike other bears, it does not hibernate. Its diet is almost exclusively of bamboo, which does not provide enough energy for the species to "stockpile" as fat. In fact, panda bears need to eat 20-30 pounds of bamboo shoots per day.

Given its diet, Giant Pandas live in bamboo forests, in central and south-western China. The relatively large species (ranging from 275-330 pounds) make their homes in mountainous regions. With urbanization and population growth in China, the bears have been pushed farther and farther up slope. Although 25 species of bamboo are typically eaten by pandas, only a few species are found at the higher elevations at which the bears now live.

In addition to the loss of habitat, pandas' low birth rate has also threatened its survival. These days, poaching of Giant Pandas is rare. However, its soft fur, skins and meat were sought by hunters during the 20th Century.

According to Wikipedia:

The Giant Panda is among the world's most adored and protected rare animals, and is one of the few in the world whose natural inhabitant status was able to gain a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Save the Giant Pandas!
Save the Giant Pandas! | Source

Help Save Panda Bears

I love this list of things you can do to help save the panda bears, from Pandas International:

  • Spread the word: share your passion to save the pandas. Free postcards are available from Panda International
  • Sponsor or adopt a Giant Panda
  • Sign up for monthly donations to Pandas International, or another organization
  • Consider a project, speech or sponsorship through your classroom, if you are a student
  • At your next celebration (birthday, holidays, etc.), ask guests to make a donation to help the pandas, rather than bring a gift
  • Purchase specially-marked panda items for gifts - a portion of the proceeds helps the panda bears
  • Clean out your attic or basement and hold a garage sale with proceeds going to help the pandas.
  • Start an environmental club to help the pandas at your school or office.
  • Host a fundraising event- lemonade stand, bake sale, sponsor a bike race

Should Efforts be Continued to Save the Panda Bears?

  • Yes! We should not turn our backs on the Panda
  • No! There are better ways for us to spend conservation money
  • Not sure - I need more information
See results without voting

Don't Give Up Working to Save the Panda Bears!

Its hard to believe that people who call themselves conservationists are advocating that efforts to save the panda bears are a waste of money. While the BBC's Chris Packham and David Bellamy assert that there is not enough habitat to sustain Giant Pandas (and thus that they should not be bred in captivity), how can we stand by and simply watch this marvelous beast perish.... particularly because its endangered status is a result of our own actions?

Personally, I don't think that just because something is difficult that it should not be undertaken. After all, the panda is not endangered as a result of natural selection. Its habitat has been diminished and fragmented by our own actions. Its the least we can do to change our ways and help preserve the Giant Panda.

Take the poll to the right, and add your comments below. Consider lending your voice to the panda bears.

© 2009 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 60 comments

Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

I fear we are already too late to save them in the wild, another 20 years it will be a zoo only animal.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

So sad, but you may be right. I worry that its too little, too late to save the pandas


starbug5052 6 years ago

they are so adorable. I agree many ends up in a zoo


Cailin Gallagher profile image

Cailin Gallagher 6 years ago from New England

Great research! We have to do whatever we can to save these great creatures.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks Cailin - I also appreciate the thumbs up on Facebook! Hope all is well, Stephanie


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

So many animals are being driven out of existance because of "loss of habitat" proving once again that there are just too many of us on the planet. From the buffalo to the Giant Panda, man has been the most destructive animal of all. Great info, Steph. thanks


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

So true, Robie! The buffalo is one sad story, too. I certainly believe that the Giant Panda need not be relegated to the history books.


Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 6 years ago from USA

It is appalling the way humans encroach on all wildlife habitats. Great article---I have supported WWF for a long time….


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut

Wonderful hub Steph! It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by what needs to be done - I love that you gave us so many ways to help.


Carmen Borthwick profile image

Carmen Borthwick 6 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

This is an awesome hub! I'm glad you wrote it to let folks know how desperate their plight is. I was fortunate to have a chance to see the babies that were born at the San Diego Zoo up close and personal. When we visited with our boys it was the first day they were allowed out to play. It was breathtaking to be so close, I can't imagine anyone wanting to turn their back on such magnificent beings. After reading this I'm going to adopt one, thanks. Warmly Carmen


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you so much for the great comments! Carmen, so happy to hear that you are going to adopt a panda! I hope more people are inspired to do so too. Best, Stephanie


peterander profile image

peterander 6 years ago

Panda bears are one of the endangered species f animals in the world. It is necessary to care for them. Good post.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Yes, indeed! These "gentle giants" have been on earth for a very long time. No need to see them go just because of our selfishness.


ivori profile image

ivori 6 years ago from Titusville

Outstanding hub! It's so sad that the so-called 'humans' can be so cruel. Every time a living species exists no more, something else suffers in the chain of life. Thank you for the many ways we can help the pandas.


Philipo profile image

Philipo 6 years ago from Nigeria

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp. Well thought hub.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I just watched a program not so long ago on the efforts the Chinese gov is doing to save the Panda. It's unfortunately seems to be a no win battle of to little toooo late.

Great Hub once again Steph.

hope you're well

kindest regards Zsuzsy


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hello ivori, Philipo and Zsuzsy - thank you for leaving your supportive comments for the Giant Pandas. It is encouraging that some are continuing heroic efforts to save them. Zsuzsy - great to "see" you! Hope you are well too, Steph


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Has anyone thought to possibly importing the bamboo that grows rampant in British Columbia? If the panda's like it, this fast growing 'weed' might help to stave off extinction...


Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

I'm afraid my friend Hmrjmr1 is right,..and one day these beautiful creatures will only be left in zoo's. It's so very sad to think that one day my great grandchildren will speak of the Panda's in a past tense. I haven't heard of the pennies for Panda's program,...until this hub, I will be checking into that for sure. I sure hope the world doesn't give up on them !!! Great hub !!!! Hooah !!!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Panda bears is beautiful animal. I agree with you to save this animal.


jenniferepp profile image

jenniferepp 6 years ago

i completely agree! no animal should be endangered and if they are, we should all fight to save them!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Yes - thank you for your support of the panda bears, prasetio30 and jenniferepp!


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

How can we not do everything we can to save the panda bear? They are too beautiful to turn our back on! All animals have as much of a right to be cherished and taken care as humans do. Awesome lens!


johnmce profile image

johnmce 6 years ago from Brighton, UK

Those baby pandas are so cute. What a fantastic cause


hannahz profile image

hannahz 6 years ago from Los Angeles

We need to save the pandas!


smartin55 6 years ago

They are so cute!


Salty Giovanni. profile image

Salty Giovanni. 6 years ago from Everywhere my feet take me.

People seriously need to save the pandas, right now it may not matter but when there gone people are gonna wish they had helped. Pandas are my favorite animal and it pisses me off to see people not do anything. Including all other animals too.


asd 6 years ago

save pandas


Alyssa 6 years ago

Awwww.... these Pandas are so cute and soon if we dont save them we arent going to have these beautiful animals!!!

SO SAVE THE PANDAS!


Ashley 6 years ago

It is cause of humans that the giant panda population has taken a tole for the worse. It is us that there home is being distorted by construction. There reproduction is so little is because there is little food source. It is us the animal lovers that have to take a stand and help are loved pandas. :) :) :) :)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis

I am a great lover of Pandas, as I am of all animal life. As such, my concerns are global, not American specific, so yes, I'm concerned about the Panda. I know that there are two species of bamboo that are indigenous to the US and as we find new uses for it, bamboo is now being grown here for commercial purposes. I don't know however if this is the same bamboo that Panda's feed on. Now I would not suggest that we attempt to introduce the panda to the US even if it could be done (we have our own vanishing species to worry about), but this makes me wonder if there's not more the Chinese can do in establishing more bamboo habitat? I know they're crowded and all and have a lot of problems but don't we all? The Panda is certainly worth saving. Thank you for this well-researched and thoughtful article!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you Christoph - I think that we need all the ideas we can generate to try to save the Pandas. Bamboo harvesting is a great idea and certainly with the speed at which bamboo grows, it seems that China should be able to work on getting more crops grown, as well.


kristina minehart 5 years ago

i love pandas they r so cute i want one of them!!!!!


ttrash profile image

ttrash 5 years ago from Australia

Good hub, just wanted to point out that koalas aren't actually considered to be endangered, with an estimated 100, 000 remaining in the wild.


harleen 5 years ago

there are so cute. please safe them from being extinct.


chasescats profile image

chasescats 5 years ago from North Carolina

It is never too late! We CAN save them. We must. Just look at the pictures of these animals!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thanks chasecats, yes we can make a difference. No one should give up on saving the Panda Bears. Thanks, Steph


StephenSMcmillan profile image

StephenSMcmillan 5 years ago

I love it.


BEAR 5 years ago

COOL


shadowprancer profile image

shadowprancer 4 years ago from Washington

Thank you, you mapped out the resources well. I love pandas they are such interesting animals and it would be a great tragedy to lose them.


princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 4 years ago

Steph

Pandas are one of the cutest animals on the planet. The fact that only 1600 giant pandas remain in the wild is astonishing. I have been supporting the WWF since years and I truly hope that the conservation programs rebuild the foundation of this lovable creature over the years.

Princesswithapen


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you for your support of the WWF to help save the panda bears. It truly is astonishing how we have wiped out pandas, black rhinos, tigers, etc. Thanks for your comment, Steph


LIA 4 years ago

PANDAS ROCK


Amanda 4 years ago

I believe that saving the Panda is a waste of time. So much money is thrown to a creature that really is on the decline. While many feel that it is their moral obligation to fight to save this creature, what about those animals that have instrumental value to humans not just intrinsic value? 90% of the large fish species in the world have been fished out because of unregulated fishing. This is a food source and for some countries, fish provide their main source of protein. Humans evolved as a superior race and the only way that animals can continue on is to learn to adapt to the main predator. Picky sexual selection and low fecundity does not a fit species make. And they certainly do not breed well or at all within captivity. Overall, while pandas may have intrinsic value and appeal to the general public, they certainly do not have instrumental value within the ecosystem.


Hikaru 4 years ago

In reply to the above comment... Aside from pointing out you grossly contradicting yourself, let me take this moment to gag on your repulsively algid and callous opinion. If we really want to get into conservation of any thing, I think it would begin with less humans. You, yourself, stated that humans have overfished. Not only are animals and flora suffering from such reckless procreation of our destructive species, now we also have millions of starving children and families all around the world. I think that's a -slight- sign that the REAL problem isn't spending money to save the pandas, or the buffalo, or the polar bears, but the careless breeding that humans are doing to satisfy their own selfish needs.

I do hope you realize that eventually everyone will be starving to death because there are just too many mouths to feed. But I guess, according to you, we will somehow evolve and learn to adapt to survive on a nonexistent food source.


Amanda 4 years ago

To Hikaru, I do agree with you. Humans are doing exactly what nature intended. We have grown, reproduced and survived (the three essential things every species does/strives to do) above all other species since we have no natural predator (besides ourselves, some would say). So naturally, we have overgrown our living space and have encroached on others' spaces that we have out competed. And unless we conserve what we have for food sources (animals like fish, cattle and others, which was the point of my post), you are correct. We would die out. Maybe one day we could evolve to be like the kangaroo rat, which does not drink a single drop of water in its entire life. And we won't need to worry about the conservation of fresh water either. But I highly doubt that and I highly doubt we would evolve and adapt to do such.


Ninagirl3456 4 years ago

I disagree with you!!! ':-( the humans will not die out and I believe the pandas are innocent we should save them. There is enough room on this planet


Dandy94 4 years ago

Yes I agree with Nina.Pandas are so cute we can save them.


yellow2mato profile image

yellow2mato 4 years ago from Texas

It almost makes me cry thinking about them becoming extinct. Like everyone else says, they are so cute. When possible I donate to wildlife organizations trying to help save animals like these beautiful pandas.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you so much yellow2mato, I agree that it is our responsibility as humans to care for all species, especially those that have become endangered in part due to our actions. Best, Steph


dilki ivoon 4 years ago

you have long way to go for their future


PandasRCool 4 years ago

Great work on this page! I liked the format and it really kept it organized!


Michele 4 years ago

You can't leave pandas alone. Pandas are soooooooooooo cute with their dropping sad eyes. I mean, how can we not save the cute pandas. We have to save them!


louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Thank you for your effort and hard work. Love your hub, a lot of interesting contact.


tjml profile image

tjml 4 years ago

You are right, we should save their life...


Nomascus concolor profile image

Nomascus concolor 4 years ago from A Country called Earth

Great hub to raise even more awarness about pandas. It is our duty to try our best to save them! Thanks for this hub


Holly 4 years ago

I think we should do something about this!!!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

pandas are becoming extinct in my country due to loss of habitat.

Thanks for writing about these cute creatures.

Pictures and video are amazing.


duy 3 years ago

we better donate


Duy is awsome 3 years ago

we need to save the pandas plus i like your information

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