How to be green – don’t save the Panda?
A bit controversial this one and I am not sure what I think about the suggestion but I thought I would share it. An article from Bloomberg suggests that we shouldn’t be prolonging the inevitable demise of the Panda and that Darwinism isn’t for crybabies. But maybe Oscar Wilde was right.
“The first test of a species’ worthiness for conservation should be some instinct for self-preservation. And pandas fail objectively” ummm ok and can see where they are coming from.
“Although blessed with a bear’s predatory teeth, the lethargic beasts eat almost nothing but bamboo — a plant that’s nearly devoid of nutritional value and disappearing in the wild. Pandas consume 40 pounds of it a day, eating constantly, speeding their own demise.” OK, so bamboo is declining in the wild and Panda’s eat a lot of it but that’s not a reason to not save them.
“Here’s a species that of its own accord has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac,” Chris Packham, a British author and wildlife activist, said in 2009. He argues that “the panda is possibly one of the grossest wastes of conservation money in the last half-century.”
“The economics of protecting this doomed species are simply unjustifiable. Canada last year spent $10 million renting the creatures from China while cutting government spending elsewhere. American zoos typically pay the Chinese government $1 million annually for a single panda (subject to negotiation). If they have cubs? That’s another $600,000. Taking care of them — supplying them with a habitat, staff and all that bamboo — costs five times what it costs for elephants, the next most expensive zoo animal. And zoos typically find that the cost overtakes the benefits in added attendance after about three years.”
I’m not sure of the meaning of the quote from Lu Zhi but it’s funny “Lu Zhi, a panda expert from Beijing University, has said that trying to reintroduce pandas to the wild is as ‘pointless as taking off the pants in order to fart’.”
And Pandas are from “a country where roughly 160 million people still live in extreme poverty. And all to protect about 1,600 dim herbivores that are debasing the word “bear,” which otherwise applies to noble beasts that manage to find plenty to eat in the wild.”
“Look, Darwinism isn’t for crybabies. And conservation requires making tough choices. Pandas had a pretty good run for 3 million years. All that money is better spent on preserving diverse habitats rather than on a single hopeless species.”
So I can see where the author is coming from and certainly if you did an ecological footprint calculation of the cradle to grave of an average Panda in captivity then it would be huge compared to conserving other species. But is that a reason to let them perish? Does the price outweigh the value?
How do we assign value on animals, nature, people to allow us to make those tough decisions that we will inevitably need to make in the future?
And yes, Oscar Wilde was right – “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Thanks to the awesome Cundallite Joanne Sim for finding this one.