Six pairs of baby panda twins were born in the Sichuan province at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding recently. Video footage of the twins has swept across the world and conservationists are thrilled to see these endearing babies.
Christopher Gary "Chris" Packham, a naturalist, author, wildlife presenter at the BBC and president of the Hawk Conservancy Trust is one of the few people in the world who is unlikely to celebrate the news.
In 2008, he commented that he would "eat the last panda" if doing so would “retroactively redistribute” the money spent on panda conservation. He has argued that it is pointless to conserve the #Animals when there is not enough habitat to sustain them. In a shocking statement, he went further and accused the movement to conserve and breed pandas as being one of the “grossest wastes of conservation money.”.
At the time, he did apologize for his comments saying that he only intended to get some debate started. Unrepentant, in 2009 in an interview with Radio Times, Packham again ranted against panda conservation, saying,“They should be allowed to become extinct.” His reasons were that the money could better be spent on conserving less expensive animals.
The 2014 "Conservation Hero of the Year" status was awarded to Packham by subscribers to the Birdwatch Magazine. In 2013, the University of Southampton made him an honorary Doctor of Science, and in 2011, he was awarded the Dilys Breese Medal by the British Trust for Ornithology.
It is just as well that not all naturalists agreed with Packham. The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 and the protected area includes seven natural reserves, which have natural Panda habitat.
The Wolong National #Nature Reserve, which was created in 1958, is still functioning and through the efforts of the Earthwatch Institute in 2012, volunteers are able to work with Giant Pandas that have been taken from captivity. Pandas in the reserve are released into the wild where they can live out their natural lives..
The twins that have recently been born will make a large difference to the viable population of pandas. In the wild, a panda is unable to feed both of the cubs when twins are born and one will die. Captive breeding means that the twins will probably survive especially as great care is taken to feed them colostrum.
The fact that pandas did not go extinct is due to the financing and dedication of animal lovers throughout the world and they can applaud themselves as champions of our planet. We should raise our glasses and toast their efforts. To nullify what they have achieved is simply shameful.