Before you read this post, you need to know that I am a firm believer in evolution and a soppy animal lover. I don’t dislike Pandas, but I do have a dislike for flogging a very expensive, unproductive, dead horse, so to speak.
I’ve lost my patience with Giant Pandas
You could immerse yourself for hours in journals, posts, stories and videos about how hard we are working to save Giant Pandas from extinction. You can even read about how one Panda may have faked its pregnancy to gain better living conditions and an easier life. We are obsessed by Giant Pandas and cannot get enough of them! Humans invest millions of dollars and massive resources across the globe to maintain Pandas and we go to huge lengths to sustain this endangered species.
Why do we care so much about Giant Pandas?
We love cute fluffy things, and Pandas are undeniably cute and fluffy, especially as cubs. I cannot blame anyone for going a little bit gooey when they are confronted with a Panda cub. As well as their appearance, they have come to be symbolic in many countries and cultures across the world.
Pandas are Symbolic
As well as being adorable, Pandas are symbols of peace and conservation as well as of being caring and responsible. The Chinese remind us that Pandas can be fierce creatures, but on the whole an image of a Panda paints a serene, exotic and compassionate picture. Pandas are famously the main element of WWF’s logo which says a lot in itself.
This is what WWF say about their Panda logo:
“WWF’s world renowned panda logo was designed by its founder chairman, the naturalist and painter Sir Peter Scott, in 1961. It was then that WWF-UK, the first national organisation in the WWF international network, was started. The WWF logo has 77 per cent prompted awareness in the UK (Mori poll, August 2001) The WWF logo has an immensely appealing and positive image, which is seen as caring, responsible and credible. This in turn means an inherent emotional and commercial value is attached to the use of our logo, reflecting our appeal and values” Read the full page here:WWF’s logo
The rarity and precarious state of worldwide Panda populations appeals to the sympathetic side of human nature. We can’t resist an underdog, and fueled by the guilt of knowing that the human race has contributed hugely to the demise of the Panda, we feel the need to keep help Pandas going as a species.
Guilt can be a strong emotion and can lead to major consequences. For example, guilt could lead to spending tens of millions of dollars per year, per country, on conserving an out of date species, couldn’t it? It could lead a government of a country to waste the financial equivalent of half a dozen schools, or a couple of hospitals offering the latest technologies in cancer treatment, for example.
I can’t help feel that there is much better use to be made of the vast money and resources that are dedicated to Pandas. To give an idea of the spend, Canada alone splashes $10,000,000 each year on Pandas. That is a serious amount of money and I am sure you can think of something much better to do with this huge wedge. Vaccinations and contraception programmes in developing countries could do with a bit of an investment. Oh, and how about leukemia patients? I reckon they would appreciate a susbtantial research investment.
Stop Panda Conservation
When will the world realise that spending all this money and throwing huge resources at an artificially sustained species is not a good long term plan?
What would happen if all these Panda conservation programmes suddenly succeeded? There would probably be too many Pandas to put back in the wild. The habitats are dwindling, so won’t increasing the Panda population density surely make issues worse? Times have changed, and however painful it is to hear, the impact of the current dominant species (humans) on this planet is having a huge knock-on effect on the rest of the planet’s inhabitants.
Succession and Extinction
We have dug, burned and chiseled our home planet into something that is perfect for us, but not so perfect for many other living things that occupy the Earth with us. Pandas have unfortunately paid the price for our survival and we should let them gracefully fade away. We will eventually burn, excrete, flush and choke ourselves too, making way for another species to have a go for a few millennia. This is what happens in evolution. It has happened for billions of years and will continue to happen for billions more. Succession and extinction are inevitable when dominant species change an environment, ultimately so that it becomes uninhabitable by the dominant species let alone many others.
Did the Dodo matter?
The Dodo died. So what? Has this really had a huge impact on the rest of the world? No.
If Pandas died, would this have a serious impact on the future of the rest of the world and its inhabitants? Unfortunately not.
Feed Kids, Not Pandas!
Isn’t it time to give up on Pandas and invest all this time, effort and money into something else?
Consider this: For the price of each Giant Panda that is kept alive, you could feed 6,200 children a good Breakfast before school for a whole year. This important meal which thousands of children miss out on helps give them the fuel they need to learn. Now that is something to feel guilty about. Do something about it.
Here are 5 more things you could do with a million dollars:
Buy 10 fully loaded ambulances.
Vaccinate a million children.
Feed a million people a McDonalds Cheesburger.
Buy over 50,000 pairs of shoes for under-privileged children.
Insure hundreds of acres of African farmland against crop-failure.