It’s easy to see why people love pandas. In fact, it’s all about appearances. They look adorable. Never mind that pandas can be quite vicious.
Before I proceed, I want to point out I really favor conservation. I think it’s a severe loss whenever the planet loses a species, not only from an ecological perspective, but also for the loss of a several millions of years evolutionary development – which we as humans can steal and use for ourselves. It’s really a loss for humanity when we wipe out the genetic record of a species.
That being said, I concur with one Chris Packham’s call to put the panda out of its misery. I think samples should be preserved for later study, and that we should redirect the millions of dollars spent on their protection and breeding to other, more hearty species.
It’s not that I don’t like the panda. I think there is something to be learned from panda anatomy and physiology, but why not direct our resources towards immortalizing the panda through exhaustive research? There’s just no future for a bear that eats wood.