LES PANDAS SONT-ILS EN DANGER ?

ARE PANDAS IN DANGER?

The giant panda, is originally from south-central China. Pandas are not in danger! Today it is considered a vulnerable living species. Today we count 1,864 pandas in their natural habitat. They are present in the Chinese mountains in the provinces of Shaanxi Gansu, and Sichuan. Classified as an endangered species since 1990 by IUCN, today it is considered a vulnerable species.

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WHY ARE PANDAS AT RISK?

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What are the causes of the extinction of pandas? 💀 There are two explanations for the disappearance of pandas. The first one is human activity which reduces and fragments their habitats, the second is of course global warming.

First, feeding and poor reproduction do not pose a direct threat to pandas survival. Like every plant and animal species, panda breeding and feeding are specific. But these are by no means threat factors, as the press still too often asserts. Alone habitat loss and fragmentation, man-made, are the main threats to the panda.

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1) DESTRUCTION OF HIS HABITAT BY MAN

Mao Zedong's policy led to a overexploitation of resources. Indeed, the policy of the Great Leap Forward cut down millions of trees for the production of charcoal. Then the Cultural Revolution plunged the country into chaos and increased the rate of deforestation. Tigers, Tibetan bears, antelopes, wolves, leopards and alligators came very close to extermination in China. Pandas have also come close to extinction, because the destruction of their habitat prevented migration, a process essential for reproduction and genetic exchange.

  • Hunt

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In the 1960s and even early 1970s, poaching constituted a serious threat. As early as the 1960s, the WWF warned of the animal's plight and chose it as its emblem. After two years, the Chinese government created four panda reserves and banned their hunting. Panda hunting was punishable by death until 1997.

Today the pandas are rarely poached. But even at a low level, it can have serious consequences for an endangered species. It is rare that poachers kill a panda. Traps made for other animals, such as musk deer or black bears, injure or kill pandas.

  • Agriculture and tourism

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Bamboo harvest and medicinal plants degrade the panda's habitat. And the development of mass tourism is disrupting the panda and its habitat. Evidence that humans disturb pandas and prevent their reproduction: In Hong Kong, during quarantine, two pandas at the zoo finally copulated. Why finally? After 10 years of trying to get a baby panda. They even tried in vitro fertilization, but they only had miscarriages.

Too much stress, too much pressure from too many visitors in front of their enclosure. When the coronavirus epidemic spread, the park has closed, calm has returned. And, the sexual desire between the two captive pandas returned.

2) CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change threatens the giant panda. Due to global warming, the distribution of bamboo forests will change, while bamboo is its staple food and natural habitat. Bamboo 🎋 has a special reproductive cycle compared to other plants. It only blooms and reproduces every 15 to 20 years and therefore adapts very little to climate change. According to the researchers, climate change will wipe out bamboo species in some places and other species will colonize some areas. This predicted decline and the new geographic distribution could affect the availability of food. The giant panda will struggle to find food.

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The impact of climate change will vary from place to place. On Qinling, Qionglai and Daxiangling Mountains, there will be bamboo decline while bamboo will grow on the Min Liang Mountains. The consequences of the destruction of the panda's habitat are dramatic:

1) An insufficient genetic mix between subpopulations (inbreeding) ...

2) Less adaptability to environmental changes.

3) Famine during the massive flowering of bamboos

WHY SHOULD WE SAVE THE PANDAS?

Because pandas are an umbrella species that protects other species! You know, the butterfly effect!

All species are a link in the food chain that allows species to survive. We cannot isolate one species from another. For example, the Alaskan sea otter has a direct impact on our way of life. If there are no more fish because of overfishing, orcas eat sea lions.

What is the problem ? Sea lions eat sea urchins. A decrease in the number of sea lions leads to an abnormal increase the number of sea urchins. Thus, sea urchins invade the coastline, depriving fish and crustaceans of their habitat and food.

No sea lions, no fish... The modification of the food chain leads to uncontrollable cascading effects (butterfly effect). So, if the panda were to become extinct, other species would follow in its footsteps. The experts prefer to preserve an ecosystem whole rather than a single species. This is why the Calme Bamboo straw bags are an ecological and sustainable alternative ♻️.

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The panda is what we call an umbrella species. It thus helps to protect other lesser-known species. The panda protects by sheltering hundreds of other species under his umbrella. In fact, more than 10% of mammals live in China, and 179 mammals share the same habitat as the panda.

The panda protects less popular animals. Less popular but equally useful animals, such as pollinating insects and filter bacteria. But we realize far too late our deep connection with living tissue, our Mother Nature. The Covid-19 reminded us that we are full members of this nature that we destroy. Once a link is destroyed, there is no going back ... it's the only way to protect these rich ecosystems.

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ARE PANDAS STILL IN DANGER?

No ! The pandas are no longer considered endangered species, but as vulnerable species.

Updated in 2016, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species admits some changes. The status of the giant panda is passed from "endangered" to "vulnerable". Reassessment in light of the 2011-2014 giant pandas census. Thanks to reforestation and an effective protection policy, the population of wild pandas increased.

For example, giant panda habitat increased by 11.8% and usable habitat increased by 6.3%. This improvement confirms the effectiveness of the Chinese government in preserving this species. But climate change could jeopardize the good results of the past two decades. Efforts must continue to face future threats to the giant panda ecosystem.

Each of us can mobilize and act against the sixth mass extinction of biodiversity. With you by our side we can rise to the challenge the most important of our century. Come join our community pandas !

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