Do you all remember the stuffed toys resembling the Panda that we used to have in our houses ? Children just adore those toys. And remember when we watch those series on our favourite animal documentary? I have always loved watching the Giant Panda. I sometimes wonder how do they even survive in the wild!
The Giant Panda has its distinct white & black spots and it is considered as the national treasure of China. Pandas live mainly in temperate forests high in the mountains of southwest China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat around 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, depending on what part of the bamboo they are eating. They help in pollination of seeds and hence their existence is critical for the bamboo forests as well. So, when the efforts are made to save one species, an entire ecosystem is saved! The local community also benefits from it as they depend on the forest for food, cooking, income etc.
Climate change is the buzzword. Global warming and the emission of green houses gases continue and it is projected that by 2050, 1/3rd of the endangered species will be almost extinct. This includes both the flora & fauna. The Giant Panda have been bearing the brunt as well. Their number had depleted and they were categorized as endangered. But now there has been a reclassification & they are now seen as the vulnerable species. The mountains which are the habitat of Pandas form the watersheds for both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, which are the economic heart of China – home to hundreds of millions of people. Economic benefits derived from these critical basins include tourism, subsistence fisheries and agriculture, transport, hydropower and water resources. Pandas also contribute towards eco tourism and help in generating sustainable economic livelihood of many.
There has been an increasing effort after realising the cruciality of this species and hence there are now more Panda reserves being built and special focus is being given for conservation of Bamboo as well as the Pandas. The Pandas face issues like habitat loss, lack of poor adaptability skills, they are very selective in choosing their mate & hence many times this leads to poor reproductive skills & even if cubs are born in reserves, they need to be hand raised by human beings or else there is a high risk of them not surviving. Another major factor is poaching where these beautiful creatures are often hunted for their skins as there is high demand in the black market for them.
What can one do to save these creatures?
- Donate to WWF and support the endeavour. You can read more by clicking here.
- Contribute towards eco tourism by visiting Panda reserves
- Spread the word because awareness is what will ultimately help in the long run
So, let us do our bit to save our only home, the planet earth with all its rightful inhabitants including the Giant Panda. Let us also do every bit to decrease our individual carbon footprint so as to minimise the effect of climate change.
Do , we want a world without the Giant Panda? The answer is certainly a big No, right ?
“This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.” I shall be writing about Climate Change this quarter.