Reserves for the Protection of the Giant Panda Essay Sample
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Introduction of TOPIC
In the 1940s, the Chinese government began initial conservation efforts to protect the Giant Pandas. The idea was to set aside safe areas where the animals would be protected in their natural habitat. During the early 1960s, China’s State Council called upon the provinces to set aside land for the protection of China’s wildlife. Sichuan province responded quickly with a plan to create reserves to protect Giant Pandas and other animals in the area. Today there are approximately 40 panda reserves across Southwestern China. Some are Nature Reserves providing a safe habitat for wild Giant Pandas, like a National Park Other reserves protect the wild Giant Pandas while having scientific research centers to study their behavior and for breeding captive Giant Pandas. The reserves are intended to protect the Giant Panda’s natural habitat. Logging is extremely detrimental to the habitat so in 1998 a logging ban was implemented by the Chinese government to slow the destruction Poaching and illegal logging are still problems in some areas.
Although Giant Pandas were once hunted for their pelts, most Giant Pandas that are injured or killed by poachers today are inadvertently harmed when Giant Pandas are caught in traps meant for musk deer, takin, and other animals Bamboo, the Giant Panda’s primary food, flowers once every 10 to 100 years depending on the species and then dies off Historically, when bamboo in one area died off the Giant Pandas would move to a new area. The expansion of human populations resulting in roads, towns, power lines and logging for both fire wood and agriculture have made migration difficult for the Giant Pandas. In order to reduce this problem, corridors must be built within the reserves to allow the Giant Pandas to move freely from one area to another when the bamboo dies off.
Logging is a problem for the growth of the bamboo, as bamboo grows in the shade of the large fir trees. Logging has also resulted in the reduction of large old growth trees, the favorite spot for mothers with cubs to den or nest after they have a cub. This results in fewer safe dry places for the mother to raise her cub Scientists are experimenting with building artificial dens to resemble old growth trees. Isolation is also a problem in the mating of wild Giant Pandas The same problems preventing Giant Pandas from finding new food when the bamboo dies also prevent male and female Giant Pandas from finding one another during the mating season. Consequently, building corridors is also extremely important to the mating process. Purpose of the Panda Reserves
* Protect the forest or habitat of the Giant Pandas
* Protect bamboo, the Giant Pandas’ major food source
* Provide corridors for Giant Panda migrations between habitat areas
* Patrol the reserves to prevent poaching and logging
* Patrol the reserves to search for sick or injured Giant Pandas
* Take sick or injured Giant Pandas to nearest panda hospital for care
* Conduct research on Giant Panda behavior, mating, breeding, diseases, etc.
* Educate tourists and visitors about Giant Panda protection
* Support communities adjacent to the reserves to minimize the need to use the Giant Panda habitat for their livelihood
* Educate local residents about the value of conserving the Giant Pandas and how tourism to the region is beneficial
Support captive breeding programs in the United States and around the world. With low birth rates and reproduction issues, breeding in captivity is an important aspect of panda survival. Visit zoos that have captive pandas. *
Donate money or time to an organization dedicated to protecting endangered pandas. Although wild pandas are only found in China, conservation organizations are found around the globe. Choose to donate money online or offer to volunteer if the organization is located close to you.
Sponsor or adopt a panda. Zoos and other organizations often support their efforts by having individuals “adopt” or sponsor a particular animal. With sponsorship, you might receive pictures and information about your specific adoptee. This makes a great gift for children or individuals who like pandas.
Grow bamboo. Some zoos in the United States accept bamboo donations from individuals. Contact a zoo with a panda near you to see if they have such a program and what the requirements are.
Learn about the Chinese government’s efforts to maintain panda habitat and save endangered pandas. Government efforts include turning land back into forest, promoting high yield crops instead of logging and promoting population control.
Avoid products that are made from animals who share habitats with pandas. Poachers and hunters of other species threaten pandas through snares, traps and other hunting methods. Buy products from companies that donate money to panda conservation. Many conservation organizations sell panda related materials or provide information about companies that sponsor panda survival. 1. Reserve System
In 1992, the Chinese Ministry of Forestry and the World Wildlife Fund implemented the “National Conservation Management Plan for the Giant Panda and Its Habitat,” outlining conservation initiatives for the species. A primary threat then, and now, is destruction and fragmentation of the panda’s habitat. Today, more than 50 percent of the panda’s habitat has been protected via a system of 40 nature reserves. For wild populations to succeed and grow, more of the remaining 50 percent must be protected. It’s not enough to create and protect isolated reserves; pandas must have corridors by which they can move between these fragments of habitat so as to maintain genetic health and avert extinction due to inbreeding. 2. Forest Conservation
Years of unchecked logging have resulted in tremendous soil erosion and perpetual flooding in many areas throughout China. In 1998, devastating flooding destroyed nearly 21 million hectares of panda habitat. In response to this catastrophe, China implemented the “Natural Forest Conservation Program” aimed at increasing forest cover in the Yangtze, Yellow and Songhuajiang river basins. Under this program, a logging ban went into effect, helping to protect the remaining forests throughout the panda’s range. A complementary policy — “Grain-to-Green” — went into effect in 2000, restoring cultivated, steep hillsides to forests and grasslands. Communities in affected areas, such as Sichuan, receive subsidies and seedlings for planting forests. Both programs have the ability to move wild panda conservation beyond the reserve system to broader, landscape-scale conservation.
3. Captive Breeding
In the 1980s, a major effort was put forth to breed pandas in captivity. Because females only ovulate once per year, breeding captive pandas proved difficult. In 1986, the first successful captive panda birth was recorded at the Wolong Panda Center in the Sichuan Province. By 2007, the Center had become the premier panda-breeding facility in the world, with more than 124 giant pandas born at the facility. To date, captive animals have not been released into the wild, due in part to lack of suitable release sites. The animals can only be released in areas of suitable habitat with few or no wild pandas, to prevent transmission of disease and disruption of wild populations. Experimental tests of captive releases are currently underway. 4. Poaching Control and Monitoring
* Poaching of pandas is no longer a significant threat to the species. However, pandas are lost each year to other forms of illegal poaching, particularly snares and traps set for musk deer. Additionally, the overharvesting of herbs for traditional Chinese medicine have harmed panda bear habitat, particularly in the Upper Yangtze Region, a wild panda stronghold where 75 percent of these plants grow. To safeguard the panda, a number of organizations have instituted monitoring and patrolling acti
vities, including World Wildlife Fund’s Panda Program, which is currently patrolling 16 of the
* Although the World Wildlife Fund says that conservation efforts are improving, the future for the giant panda is by no means guaranteed. China’s rapidly growing economy is causing multiple threats to the giant panda and its habitat. Transportation systems, roads and railroads are increasingly China’s southwest region, which is the geographic and economic heart of the country, and industry and construction are eroding significant tracts of habitation. Poaching is also a threat that has not yet been eradicated. Conservation Organizations
* Joining and donating to reputable conservation organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and Defenders of Wildlife help to support already established agencies continue their efforts to protect giant pandas and other endangered species. *
* The giant panda is listed among the world’s most threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is the world’s largest and oldest environmental network. “It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.” You can stay informed about conservation efforts in southwest China by signing up for its newsletters. You can financially support its important work, including the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, which are a protective environment for 30 percent of the giant pandas left. You can also encourage scientists, species specialists and conservation groups to join the IUCN. Campaign
* Write letters to legislators asking them to campaign for the conservation of the giant panda when doing business with China. Make your case clearly and succinctly and provide accurate statistics to back up your requests. Captive Breeding Programs
* Low birth rates and reproductive issues mean that responsible captive breeding programs are important to giant panda survival. There are more than 300 pandas in captivity around the world as a part of these breeding efforts. Support zoos in the United States and around the world are working diligently to boost panda numbers. You can also sponsor or adopt a panda, and follow its progress, while supporting important research programs. Consumer Responsibility
* Buy from companies that actively support giant panda conservation. Request information about their philanthropic efforts from their head offices. If they do not currently support conservation, request that they consider doing so, by donating to reputable organizations registered in the United States, for which they will get tax breaks. 5. Reforestation
* The biggest threat to giant panda populations has been deforestation. Pandas have been separated and essentially chased into the hills. They have been restricted to six remote and separate mountain ranges. This fragmentation has caused a loss of both habitat and biodiversity. A number of efforts by the Chinese government and organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund, have started to reforest some of these fragmented areas. A popular and economical approach has been to plant “green corridors,” or patches of forest that serve as highways between larger bamboo forests, known to be inhabited by pandas. The Chinese government also reimburses farmers who convert some of their agricultural land to forest. Preservation
* In addition to reforestation, the giant panda population largely depends on the protection of current panda habitat. This means setting aside large parcels of bamboo forest, currently inhabited by pandas, as wildlife reserves, refuges and preserves. The existence of wildlife reserves also helps protect these bears from the threat of poachers. As of 2010, both federal and local Chinese governments had established about 60 panda reserves—a far cry from the 13 reserves that existed in 1990. Many of these reserves are in the process of being linked by green corridors. Captive Breeding
* Giant pandas have a relatively low reproduction rate compared to other bears. While capable of giving birth to litters of at least three, nearly all panda pregnancies result in the birth of only one cub. In their unadulterated natural habitat, this low birthrate would not pose a problem for panda populations. However, it has made them especially vulnerable to habitat loss, poaching and other direct causes of depopulation. One effort to increase giant panda populations has been to breed them in captivity. This program, which occurs at zoos or research facilities where ideal breeding conditions are created, has been quite successful. It has created another problem in and of itself, as there is still not enough wild habitat available in which to release these pandas. For captive breeding of pandas to truly succeed, there first needs to be a significant amount of habitat restoration. Research
* The most important aspect of panda preservation is ongoing research. Research initially discovered the giant panda decline, and it has been through research that the panda population is rebounding. It takes thorough study to fully understand the ideal habitat, breeding conditions and biology of most animals. Because the giant panda is endangered, this knowledge is priceless.
1. Donate to one of the World Wildlife Fund’s panda projects. Contributions to the WWF can be made online through the “Give a Panda Room To Grow” program or by purchasing a panda “adoption kit.” Contributors receive a certificate and panda-related keepsakes.
Follow the World Wildlife Fund’s Panda page on Facebook to learn more about the panda and current conservation efforts of the WWF, and stay informed about recent news and discover other opportunities and ways to support their cause. As an active participant in online discussions, you help to establish and support social communities that promote education — encouraging other organizations and individuals to help the pandas.
Donate online to the Giant Panda Conservation Fund, a part of the conservation program of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington DC. The Friends of the National Zoo membership supports zoo conservation efforts for all kinds of animals. Checks can also be sent and written to the “FONZ” with a memo note indicating the donation is for the “Giant Panda Conservation Fund.” The address is as follows: FONZ Development
P.O. Box 37012 MRC 5516
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Visit PandasInternational.com to donate to the organization’s cause. Supporters can also help by shopping online through the organization’s scrip program and participating in affiliate contribution programs like GoodSearch’s online search engine.
Order merchandise from the “Pandas Are Precious” store at CafePress.com. The Pandas are Precious website was created by a young girl who wanted to support the giant panda and features products for sale featuring her own childhood artwork. Half of the proceeds are donated to saving the pandas. * 6
Send free Panda e-cards to friends through the WWF or Pandas International websites to help educate others about pandas.
Visit Conservation.org to promote and learn more about environmental programs that support sustainable practices — recycling, reducing consumption, buying locally, conserving energy and following eco-tourism practices.
Humans must stop wrecking their habitats, and give them more land that can connect the fragmented forests, so they will have pathways from one safe reserve to others. If the people would give them the extra land planted with bamboo and then stay away from them, that would help! Also, we could make a petition for people to help find illegal Giant Panda poachers, and punish them to the fullest extent of the law! Additional Information: Supporting the efforts that organizations like the World Wildlife Fund or “WWF”, are making through donations, volunteering at events, or in whatever way you feel comfortable contributing to the efforts to help protect the Panda. Also, following the guidelines given by such groups about what products are best to purchase, to support the economy, and environment around the Pandas.
While you try to avoid purchasing the products that harm the ecosystem, either by the removal process itself, removing of the actual materials, or by using the region of the Panda for the production of the product. Plus just talking about the many projects that are focused on breeding, or researching the Giant Panda, can help get people involved, which can be the start of new ideas and the inspiration for new programs and further support for the future enforcement of the laws that protect the Pandas. For more details, please see sites listed below. This is the emblematic animal for our planet’s endangered fauna. But during the last 15 years, the situation has improved: the population of giant pandas has grown from 1,100 to 1,600. A 40 % increase, over a territory of 23,000 square km.
Panda requires not altered/slightly altered environments, in the middle mountains over 2,000 m (6,000 ft) of the Yangtze basin, in southeastern China, in the provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu (the chains of Minshan, Qinling, Qionglai, Liangshan, Daxiangling, and Xiaoxiangling, harboring vast bamboo forests, home also for many pheasant species, giant salamanders (1.5 m or 5 ft long) and the rare golden takin antelope.
Poaching of panda is punished with over 20 years in jail, but poachers still place traps for different species in the panda’s habitat. The fact that a panda skin costs up to 70,000 Euro is still a huge temptation.
The timber exploitation in the areas inhabited by the pandas is forbidden since 1998. In 20 years, deforestation had wiped out 50 % of the panda’s habitat. Another positive program was Grain-to-Green, directed for recovering mountain slopes as agriculture terrains inside the forest.
Even if the general population is of 1,600, the nuclei of population are made of 50-100 individuals. Scientists consider an overall population of 2,000 as secure.
In the last 2 million years, pandas passed from meat to bamboo. They eat 12-40 kg (27 to 90 pounds) of bamboo daily, shoots, stems and leaves, and this takes them 14 hours. Based on the bite marks impressed in the digested bamboo stems from the panda feces, scientists can make the difference from one individual to another. Thus, feces tell the scientists the number of pandas encountered in a region.
The last census found new populations in Liuba and Ningqiang (Shaanxi) and confirmed that the mountains of Qinling and Minshan should convert in areas of priority protection as they concentrate the highest densities of pandas. By now, there are 40 natural reserves of special protection for the species (compassing 45 % of the areal of the panda), but the isolation of some make the genetic exchange between individuals quite difficult, favoring the endogamy, which decreases the quality of the populations.
WWF asks for the creation of corridors connecting these nuclei, in which local human populations should be involved, essentially in activities compatibles with the panda conservation and jobs like panda watching, monitoring, and anti-poaching patrols, like in the case of the Wolong reserve (Sichuan).
Of the 166 captive pandas in the world, most of them are in Chinese zoos and centers (like Wolong), and about 20 in the US, Mexico, Japan, Germany and Austria. All are involved in conservation and captivity breeding programs. Still, for the moment, no individual bred in captivity has been released in the wild, even if the breeding programs were successful, as conservationists want to be sure that habitat loss, poaching, isolation and endogamy are gone.
For breeding pandas, Chinese have employed from video panda porn to Viagra and Chinese traditional remedies. Cloning has been considered for pandas, using as mother females of American black bear. In the center of Chengdu (Sichuan), a bank of epithelial cells taken from 26 individuals has been created, with the aim of conserving their genetic traits.
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