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How to Save the Giant Pandas

Stephanie has published many articles raising awareness on environmental issues

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?

Learn More About Pandas

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

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.

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

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.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Stephanie Marshall

Comments

Duy is awsome on October 31, 2012:

we need to save the pandas plus i like your information

duy on October 30, 2012:

we better donate

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on May 23, 2012:

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

Thanks for writing about these cute creatures.

Pictures and video are amazing.

Holly on April 23, 2012:

I think we should do something about this!!!

Nomascus concolor from A Country called Earth on April 22, 2012:

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

tjml on April 02, 2012:

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

louromano on March 24, 2012:

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

Michele on March 13, 2012:

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!

PandasRCool on March 08, 2012:

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

dilki ivoon on March 07, 2012:

you have long way to go for their future

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on February 16, 2012:

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

yellow2mato from Texas on February 15, 2012:

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.

Dandy94 on February 13, 2012:

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

Ninagirl3456 on February 13, 2012:

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

Amanda on January 31, 2012:

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.

Hikaru on January 30, 2012:

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 on January 29, 2012:

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.

LIA on December 18, 2011:

PANDAS ROCK

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 26, 2011:

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

princesswithapen on November 26, 2011:

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

shadowprancer from Washington on November 12, 2011:

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.

BEAR on September 09, 2011:

COOL

StephenSMcmillan on May 26, 2011:

I love it.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on March 01, 2011:

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

chasescats from North Carolina on March 01, 2011:

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

harleen on February 24, 2011:

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

ttrash from Australia on January 24, 2011:

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.

kristina minehart on November 02, 2010:

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

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on August 30, 2010:

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.

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on August 30, 2010:

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!

Ashley on August 21, 2010:

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. :) :) :) :)

Alyssa on May 25, 2010:

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!

asd on April 29, 2010:

save pandas

Salty Giovanni. from Everywhere my feet take me. on November 20, 2009:

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.

smartin55 on November 10, 2009:

They are so cute!

hannahz from Los Angeles on November 09, 2009:

We need to save the pandas!

johnmce from Brighton, UK on October 30, 2009:

Those baby pandas are so cute. What a fantastic cause

theherbivorehippi from Holly, MI on October 22, 2009:

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!

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 22, 2009:

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

jenniferepp on October 22, 2009:

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

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on October 20, 2009:

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

Army Infantry Mom on October 20, 2009:

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 !!!

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on October 13, 2009:

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...

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 13, 2009:

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

Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on October 13, 2009:

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

Philipo from Nigeria on October 13, 2009:

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp. Well thought hub.

Barbara Eisenberg from Titusville on October 12, 2009:

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.

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 12, 2009:

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.

peterander on October 11, 2009:

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

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 11, 2009:

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

Carmen Borthwick from Maple Ridge, B.C. on October 11, 2009:

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

amy jane from Connecticut on October 11, 2009:

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.

Nancy's Niche on October 11, 2009:

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

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 11, 2009:

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.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on October 11, 2009:

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

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 10, 2009:

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

Cailin Gallagher from New England on October 10, 2009:

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

starbug5052 on October 10, 2009:

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

Stephanie Marshall (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 10, 2009:

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

Hmrjmr1 from Georgia, USA on October 10, 2009:

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

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