Death to Pandas!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On the front of the Daily Mirror yesterday there was the inevitable tabloid reaction to a comment by Chris Packham "LET THE PANDAS DIE OUT" it screamed.  Subsequently it seems that he has half heartedly retracted the statement, but not really.  David Bellamy was one of the people that also came out to support the idea.  Lots of folk are saying that he shouldn't have said it and that he is irresponsible.  Yes he should, and no it isn't.

Obviously the intention was stir up debate, but there is good and valid logic inside the argument and largely pragmatic it is too I reckon.  The Panda is evidently the flagship species for conservation, the nonpareil of big endangered animals and thus should never be allowed to become extinct.  Ever.  Even though there isn't enough space for it any more.  It's pretty much doomed.  The same applies to the Tiger I guess.  Yes, there is no space for them anymore because of human activity and I'm not saying that humans have first dibs on everything but by our nature if we just run around breeding with a trail of destruction scattered all around us - there is a certain inevitability to the extinction of many many species.

The problem with conservation now is that the big organisations are based on 50 year old ideologies and tokenistic gestures that started the organisations, but the world has changed.  A lot.  Conservation bodies should be (as Packham says) focus on biodiversity hotspots, as biodiversity as a whole is far more important on a large scale than the protection of some dumb ass bear in China.  They don't have to do anything with the land, but buying it and stopping it being built on is good enough isn't it?

I doubt very much if this whole argument will change anything in the short term, the sun has yet to set on the wild Panda that much is sure.  But give it a decade or two and the consensus will be that we should have spent the money on rainforest instead.


Alan Tilmouth said...

I'm with you, the new religion of controversial pragmatism starts here. They will whisper the legend of how this new religion swept in from the East (End) and all listened to the wisdom of it's leader known only as Thing.

On a serious note I agree with you but much as I detest my own pessimism I think we're past the tipping point. Too little too late from too many. Private Fraser had it right we're all doooooomed.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more !!!!!

Steve Gale said...

I agreed with Chris Packham's comment as it was based on a realism that we can carry on pouring money into a sieve that will not save the Giant Panda(in the wild), at the expense of more realistic goals. "An evolutionary cul-de-sac", I believe he was quoted as saying that the panda is in. That didn't mean that he didn't care about the panda's plight.

kanishk said...

On a serious note I agree with you but much as I detest my own pessimism I think we're past the tipping point.
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Anonymous said...

Im not so sure I do agree with yous actually. ‘The protection of some dumb ass bear in China’ represents a visual manifestation of the ultimate sacrifices humans need to make, now more than ever, to protect those that we share this planet with. Allowing them to die out is like giving ourselves a get out clause for all the mess and crap we have created over the decades. Surely there are aspects of tokenism in the idea of having to change the total concepts instigated by the ‘ big organisations based on 50 year old ideologies’. As tokenism refers to a small, altruistic or prosocial gesture, that draws the attention away from the bigger picture, that may well be corrupt. Allowing focus to be totally absorbed in aspects of biodiversity and allowing species such as the tiger, the bear, the polar bear, wolves to become sacrificial lambs whilst we get our moral arses in gear and acts together smells a bit rotten to me.

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