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Giant Pandas

Giant Pandas: Biology and Conservation

Donald Lindburg
Karen Baragona
With a Foreword by George B. Schaller
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Pages: 323
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    Giant Pandas
    Book Description:

    The much-loved giant panda, a secretive denizen of the dense bamboo forests of western China, has become an icon worldwide of progress in conservation and research. This volume, written by an international team of scientists and conservationists including Chinese researchers whose work has not been available in English, tells the promising story of how the giant panda returned from the brink of extinction. The most important sourcebook on giant pandas to date, it is the first book since 1985 to present current panda research and the first to place the species in its biological, ecological, and political contexts. More than a progress report on a highly endangered species,Giant Pandas: Biology and Conservationdetails the combination of scientific understanding, local commitment, and government involvement that has been brought into play and asks what more needs to be done to ensure the panda's survival. The book is divided into four parts-Evolutionary History of the Giant Panda, Studies of Giant Panda Biology, Pandas and Their Habitats, and Giant Panda Conservation. It combines the latest findings from the field and the laboratory together with panel and workshop summaries from a recent international conference. Taken together, the chapters highlight how international cooperation has led to better management in the wild and in captivity. The volume also shows how concepts such as buffer zones, links between forest fragments, multiple-use areas, and cooperation with local people who have a stake in the resources-highly relevant concepts for conservation problems around the world-have been key to the panda's survival.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93016-2
    Subjects: Zoology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)

    When, in 1978, Hu Jinchu and his colleagues erected a hut and several tents in the forests of the Qionglai Mountains in Wolong Natural Reseve to study giant pandas, it was the beginning of an intensive effort to save a species that was much adored but little known. I was privileged to become a member of the Chinese research team on behalf of World Wildlife Fund. On May 15, 1980, I first examined and measured panda droppings and feeding sites. Four and one-half years later, in January 1985, I left the project. We had by then collected a baseline of...

    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. 1-6)
    Donald Lindburg and Karen Baragona

    New initiatives devoted to conservation the and study of giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)during the past decade have resulted from a convergence of activity in several quarters. The history of this secretive denizen of the dense bamboo forests of western China—first as a trophy for the hunter’s gun, then as a spectacle for the entertainment of Westerners—has endowed the panda with a mystique that will not go away. As a candidate for conservation, the giant panda elicits a level of public concern that is rarely equaled by other wild forms (Lü et al. 2000).

    Biological inquiry only adds...

  7. PART ONE Evolutionary History of Giant Pandas

    • [PART ONE Introduction]
      (pp. 7-10)

      In a spirited essay on the zoological placement of the giant panda, George Schaller (1993: 267) concluded his review of the evidence by saying “[t]he giant panda still pseudothumbs his nose at us.” Can it be that opinions on this topic remain divided even today? And does it matter? We believe both questions must be answered in the affirmative, and for this reason, in part one we present results from more recent work on the phylogeny of the giant panda and its relatives. Our objective is not, as Schaller would say, “to prod heretics into becoming true believers” in any...

    • 1 Phylogenetic Position of the Giant Panda: HISTORICAL CONSENSUS THROUGH SUPERTREE ANALYSIS
      (pp. 11-35)
      Olaf R. P. Bininda-Emonds

      Perhaps no question in mammalian systematics has engendered such long-term controversy and uncertainty as the phylogenetic placement of the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Although its formal introduction to Western science placed it as a member of the bear family (Ursidae) (David 1869), similarities to the lesser or red panda(Ailurus fulgens)and, by extension, raccoons and allies (Procyonidae) were quickly noted (Milne-Edwards 1870). Since that time, a variety of evidence has been used to allyAiluropodawith ursids, procyonids, orAilurus(either within the previous two families or as the separate family Ailuridae), or to place it in a family...

    • BRIEF REPORT 1.1 Pylogenetic Placement of the Giant Panda Based on Molecular Data
      (pp. 36-37)
      Lisette P. Waits

      The use of paleontological and morphological data to reconstruct the genealogical history and taxonomic placement of the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)has produced conflicting results. The species has been placed with the Ursidae (bear family), Procyonidae (raccoon family), or in a separate family (Ailuropodidae). An alternative method for defining the evolutionary history and taxonomic placement of the giant panda is molecular phylogenetics. The results and conclusions from twelve different molecular studies of the phylogenetic relationship of the giant panda indicate that ten place the giant panda with the Ursidae ( table BR.1.1). The analyses used in the two studies positing...

      (pp. 38-44)
      Lee R. Hagey and Edith A. MacDonald

      The phylogeny of giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)has long been a puzzle, particularly as this herbivorous animal has the intestine of a carnivore, a specialized physiology, a unique life history, and a pattern of markings that has seemingly evolved to elict emotion in humans. To take a new approach to this puzzle, we examined the profile of bile salts (breakdown products of cholesterol metabolism) of the giant panda and potentially related carnivores.

      Substantial evidence indicates that the bile salts of ursids (bears) are in some way different from those of other carnivores. For example, traditional Oriental medicine has taught the...

    • 3 A Paleontologist’s Perspective on the Origin and Relationships of the Giant Panda
      (pp. 45-52)
      Robert M. Hunt Jr.

      First described in 1869 by the Abbé David from a young individual killed by hunters in western Sichuan (Fox 1949), the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)was placed by David with other living bears in the genusUrsus. A year later, the zoologist Milne-Edwards (1870), impressed by skeletal and dental difference from living bears, created the genusAiluropoda(αιλονρος, —πομς,Ailurus, -foot; having a foot like the Asian lesser panda,Ailurus). The unique ecology of the giant panda, namely, its restricted geographic range and habitat, dependence on bamboo, slow reproductive rate, prolonged infancy, and small populations warrant grave concern for the survival...

    • 4 Variation in Ursid Life Histories: IS THERE AN OUTLIER?
      (pp. 53-73)
      David L. Garshelis

      The ursidae, comprising only eight extant species of bears, is the second-smallest family in the order Carnivora. Given the small number of species, less variation might be expected in life histories of bears than among species of other carnivore families. However, sizes of bears vary greatly, from 30-kg sun bears(Helarctos malayanus)to polar bears(Ursus maritimus)and brown bears(U. arctos)exceeding 500 kg, and they inhabit a vast area, from the tropics to the arctic in both the Old and New Worlds. The potential for considerable variation in life histories therefore exists. Most of the individual species also...

    • BRIEF REPORT 4.1 Life History Traits and Reproduction of Giant Pandas in the Qinling Mountains of China
      (pp. 74-76)
      Dajun Wang, Xiaojian Zhu and Wenshi Pan

      Long-term research on wild living giant pandas in the Qinling Mountains of Shaanxi Province, China, has been since 1985. In its early stages, the research was focused on panda habitat; Pan et al. (1988) have published the results from these initial efforts. Subsequently, the results from studies of population structure, movement patterns, and social structure (Lü 1991) and the mother-infant relationship (Lü et al. 1994) were published, mainly in the Chinese language. In 2001, the first detailed analysis of the reproductive strategy of giant pandas was published (Zhu et al. 2001). Here we summarize our data on the mating season,...

  8. PART TWO Studies of Giant Panda Biology

    • [PART TWO Introduction]
      (pp. 77-80)

      In part I, we noted that a preponderance of the evidence supports an ursine origin for the giant panda. Biologically speaking, we are thus led to wonder how the giant panda—an “ancient” bear, according to one of the more recent evolutionary trees (O’Brien 1993)—compares with its ursine cousins. In chapter 4 (part I), Dave Garshelis provides a superb beginning in drawing together comparative information on pandas vis-à-vis the other ursids, but the study of panda biology is too recent and too limited to lead to definitive characterizations. From the Schaller team’s original work in the Qionglai Mountains of...

    • 5 Future Survival of Giant Pandas in the Qinling Mountains of China
      (pp. 81-87)
      Wenshi Pan, Yu Long, Dajun Wang, Hao Wang, Zhi Lü and Xiaojian Zhu

      In the spring of 1985, we began developing a comprehensive research program to address giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)conservation issues. Initially, it was extremely difficult to ascertain population numbers and distribution patterns at our site in the Qinling Mountains (Shaanxi Province, Changqing Forestry District); yet obtaining these data was of utmost importance to a conservation effort. The best method for proceeding was to fit a radio-transmitting device on pandas for long-term monitoring. Between June 1986 and March 1999, we obtained direct and reliable data from twenty-one radiocollared individuals. These data included activity locations and frequencies, seasonal migrations, dispersal routes, home...

    • WORKSHOP REPORT 5.1 Genetic Studies of Giant Pandas in Captivity and in the Wild
      (pp. 88-89)
      Yaping Zhang and Oliver A. Ryder

      Modern techniques of genetic analysis make feasible the determination of the genotypes of individual giant pandas in captivity and, if a sufficient sample is available, in the wild. Such information would play an important supportive role in the conservation of the species in both milieux. For captive populations, the founders derived from the wild population provide a sample of genetic diversity within the species. Analysis of these samples provides an insight to the distribution of genetic variation within free-ranging populations without requiring additional sampling.

      Assessments of genetic diversity derived from captive individuals, in addition to providing information about phylogeography, may...

    • 6 Nutritional Strategy of Giant Pandas in the Qinling Mountains of China
      (pp. 90-100)
      Yu Long, Zhi Lü, Dajun Wang, Xiaojian Zhu, Hao Wang, Yingyi Zhang and Wenshi Pan

      According to Schaller et al. (1985), despite the wide distribution of bamboo throughout the tropics and subtropics, the animals that utilize this grass for food are quite rare. These authors noted that, in addition to the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca),bamboo feeders in China include the fossorial bamboo rat(Rhizomys sinense)and the lesser or red panda(Ailurus fulgens).In addition, Pan et al. (1988) have documented a small number of birds, insects, and small mammals that utilize bamboo shoots, leaves, or stems as food (see also Wei et al., chapter 13).

      Sheldon (1937) may have been the first to...

    • BRIEF REPORT 6.1 Spatial Memory in the Giant Panda
      (pp. 101-105)
      Loraine R. Tarou, Rebecca J. Snyder and Terry L. Maple

      Optimal foraging theory postulates that animals use efficient foraging strategies when searching for and processing food. Efficient strategies are those that maximize the energetic gains and minimize the energetic costs of foraging (Pyke et al. 1977). Some of the issues facing a foraging animal that affect efficiency include prey choice, handling time, encounter rate, and staying time within a given patch. Scientists interested in optimal foraging theory have attempted to incorporate these factors into both patch and prey models designed to predict resource maximization (Kamil and Sargent 1981; Stephens and Krebs 1986). However, most models assume that the animal is...

    • 7 Chemical Communication in Giant Pandas: EXPERIMENTATION AND APPLICATION
      (pp. 106-120)
      Ronald R. Swaisgood, Donald Lindburg, Angela M. White, Hemin Zhang and Xiaoping Zhou

      In their seminal work on giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)in the wild, Schaller et al. (1985) brought to the fore chemical communication as a fundamental aspect of the panda’s behavioral ecology. Without knowledge of this chemical communication system, we cannot understand how pandas locate and choose mates, regulate their use of space, and assess potential competitors; moreover, responses to conspecific odors might determine whether pandas use certain habitats that appear otherwise suitable. Despite the long-recognized importance of scent for pandas (see also Morris and Morris 1966; Kleiman 1983), until recently, little effort has been made to address this poorly understood...

    • BRIEF REPORT 7.1 Chemical Composition of Giant Panda Scent and Its Use in Communication
      (pp. 121-124)
      Lee R. Hagey and Edith A. MacDonald

      The giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)lives in dense bamboo forests and communicates with conspecifics via scent marks. Under the tail is a specialized gland that is used to deposit chemical messages in the environment. The first step in discerning the messages transmitted by these marks is to identify their chemical components. Using a swab, colleagues in the United States and China collected samples of scent directly from the gland and from marks left in the environment by adults of both sexes. Samples were transferred to a solid-phase matrix extractor, taken to the laboratory, and subjected to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis....

    • 8 Reproduction in Giant Pandas: HORMONES AND BEHAVIOR
      (pp. 125-132)
      Rebecca J. Snyder, Dwight P. Lawson, Anju Zhang, Zhihe Zhang, Lan Luo, Wei Zhong, Xianming Huang, Nancy M. Czekala, Mollie A. Bloomsmith, Debra L. Forthman and Terry L. Maple

      Although adult giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)are solitary and rarely come into contact with one another except to mate, they are part of a social community with behavioral complexities we are only now beginning to understand. To investigate giant panda reproductive cycles, it is necessary to first understand their social organization. Schaller et al. (1985) is still the predominant text on giant panda natural history, and much of our understanding of their behavior in the wild originates from this work. They discovered that giant pandas at the Wolong Nature Reserve occupy small (3.9–6.4 km²), relatively stable home ranges that...

  9. PART THREE Pandas and Thier Habitat

    • [PART THREE Introduction]
      (pp. 133-136)

      What does the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)need, above all else, to survive? The answer plain and simple, is habitat—habitat of sufficient extent, quality, and connectivity to support a genetically stable population. We cannot avoid asking—or being asked—“How many pandas is enough?” But the more relevant question is, “How much habitat is enough?” If subpopulations are too small and too segregated to remain viable, the species’ survival odds are not improved by increasing its numbers. It is therefore more important to maximize the amount of suitable panda habitat by bringing as much of it under legal protection...

    • 9 Comparative Ecology of Giant Pandas in the Five Mountain Ranges of Their Distribution in China
      (pp. 137-148)
      Jinchu Hu and Fuwen Wei

      Giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)are found today in the Qinling area of Shaanxi Province and in the high mountain ranges of Gansu and Sichuan Provinces, including the Qingzang Plateau (Hu 2001). The entire distribution of the species falls at roughly 102°00’-108°11’E longitude and 27°53’-35°35’N latitude. Fifty years ago, their more-or-less continuous distribution in this area resembled a large C in shape, extending from the Qinling Mountains to the Sichuan Basin. The development of roads and transportation, intensification of human activities, and introduction of large-scale logging have led to fragmentation of the habitat into five mountain regions: Qinling, Minshan, Qionglai, Xiangling,...

    • PANEL REPORT 9.1 Assessing the Habitat and Distribution of the Giant Panda: METHODS AND ISSUES
      (pp. 149-154)
      Colby Loucks and Hao Wang

      The conservation of pandas in the wild requires the protection of adequate habitat to support viable populations. Road construction and logging have fragmented panda habitat, dissecting historically large areas into much smaller ones. An essential first step in developing a conservation plan for wild pandas is to establish a snapshot of where remaining habitat and wild panda populations still persist today. We provide an overview of past efforts, summarize the important points derived from panel discussions, and recommend future actions to identify remaining habitat and quantify panda distributions.

      The historical range of the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)once extended from...

    • BRIEF REPORT 9.1 Using DNA from Panda Fecal Matter to Study Wild-Living Populations
      (pp. 155-158)
      Yunwu Zhang, Hemin Zhang, Guiquan Zhang, Oliver A. Ryder and Yaping Zhang

      The giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)is a rare and native animal of China. Its origin can be dated to 820 million years ago, and it was once distributed in many areas in East Asia (Hu 1991). However, due to a low rate of reproduction, the continued shrinking and isolation of its habitat as a result of human activities, and the disruption of genetic exchange between populations, the number of giant pandas in the wild has decreased rapidly. Today, pandas can be found only in scattered forests in several mountain ranges in western China (Hu and Wei, chapter 9; Loucks and...

    • 10 Giant Panda Migration and Habitat Utilization in Foping Nature Reserve, China
      (pp. 159-169)
      Yange Yong, Xuehua Liu, Tiejun Wang, Andrew K. Skidmore and Herbert H. Prins

      It is well established that the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)is an endangered species. Partial surveys from the mid-1980s estimated that about nine hundred to one thousand pandas exist in the wild, and are found only in the western part of China (figure 10.1). The giant panda is a solitary mammal (Schaller et al. 1985). It is quite difficult to locate individuals in remote mountain areas covered with dense vegetation. Radiotracking is an effective way to locate pandas to observe their behavior and how they relate to their habitat. This technology also permits a quantitative assessment of activity patterns, habitat...

    • BRIEF REPORT 10.1 Noninvasive Techniques for Monitoring Giant Panda Behavior, Habitat Use, and Demographics
      (pp. 170-175)
      Matthew E. Durnin, Jin Yan Huang and Hemin Zhang

      Reliable data on the distribution, abundance, and behavior of wild giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)are often impractical or impossible to acquire due to their secretive and elusive natures and/or highly dispersed populations. Furthermore, researchers and wildlife managers have found it difficult to implement standardized sampling designs to measure population dynamics because of the mountainous and densely vegetated habitats that pandas inhabit. As part of a larger research effort focusing on giant panda reproductive behavior, demographics, and genetic sampling, we are devising, evaluating, and establishing practical monitoring protocols that are noninvasive and cost-effective on a variety of scales ranging from single...

    • 11 Mapping Habitat Suitability for Giant Pandas in Foping Nature Reserve, China
      (pp. 176-186)
      Xuehua Liu, M. C. Bronsveld, Andrew K. Skidmore, Tiejun Wang, Gaodi Dang and Yange Yong

      The giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)survives today in five mountain regions in China (see Hu and Wei, chapter 9). With the passage of time, its forest habitat has been reduced in extent and has also become fragmented. Although the shrinking of the panda’s range is partially the result of climatic changes during the Pleistocene epoch, in recent times, it has been caused primarily by human activity (Schaller et al. 1985; WNR et al. 1987; Schaller 1993). China’s population explosion and economic development are the main factors responsible for this shrinkage.

      The detailed mapping of forest cover from visual interpretation of...

    • PANEL REPORT 11.1 Restoring Giant Panda Habitat
      (pp. 187-188)
      Chunquan Zhu and Zhiyun Ouyang

      Owing to road construction, widespread logging, and the expansion of agriculture, the habitat of the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)has been significantly reduced and seriously fragmented. Satellite survey maps indicate that the forest vegetation in the panda’s range has decreased by about 50% over the past thirty years. The resulting isolation of some populations has prevented gene exchange between groups. Habitat degradation and decline therefore represents a major threat to the long-term survival of the giant panda (figure PR.11.1)

      Data from surveys carried out during 1985–1988 (Chinese Ministry of Forestry and World Wildlife Fund 1989) indicated a low population...

    • 12 Sympatry of Giant and Red Pandas on Yele Natural Reserve, China
      (pp. 189-200)
      Fuwen Wei, Ming Li, Zuojian Feng, Zuwang Wang and Jinchu Hu

      The giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)and red panda(Ailurus fulgens)are endemic to the Himalayan-Hengduan Mountains. The giant panda is today found only in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu Provinces of China (Schaller et al. 1985; Hu et al. 1990). The red panda, in contrast, has a larger range, extending from central Nepal eastward along the Himalayas through Bhutan, India, and Myanmar into China (Roberts and Gittleman 1984; Glatston 1994; Wei et al. 1999a). In China, both species are sympatric in the Qionglai, Minshan, Xiangling, and Liangshan Mountains of Sichuan Province (Schaller et al. 1985; Hu et al. 1990; Wei et...

    • 13 Balancing Panda and Human Needs for Bamboo Shoots in Mabian Nature Reserve, China: PREDICTIONS FROM A LOGISTIC-LIKE MODEL
      (pp. 201-209)
      Fuwen Wei, Guang Yang, Jinchu Hu and Stephen Stringham

      The scarcity of the endemic giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)in China is a consequence of population decline and isolation, habitat degradation, and human interference (Schaller et al. 1985; Hu et al. 1990; Hu 2001). Mortality seems high even for an ursid: about 57% over the first year of life for cubs in the Qionglai Mountains (Wei and Hu 1994; Wei et al. 1997a). Conservation challenges and the unique biology of giant pandas have attracted worldwide attention. Their ecology has been studied in a number of habitats (Schaller et al. 1985, 1989; Pan et al. 1988; Hu et al. 1990; Reid...

    • PANEL REPORT 13.1 Management of Giant Panda Reserves in China
      (pp. 210-212)
      Changqing Yu and Xiangsui Deng

      The establishment and management of protected areas in range states are critical to the in situ conservation of endangered species. In 1963, the government of China set aside four reserves for the protection of the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)and associated wildlife at Wanglang, Wolong, Baihe, and Labahe. All four reserves are in Sichuan Province, in the central and southwestern parts of the giant panda’s current distribution. During the 1970s and 1980s, additional reserves were established and are known as the Tangjiahe, Jiuzhaigou, Xiaozhaizigou, Huanglongsi, Dafengding, Fengtongzhai, Baishuijiang, and Foping Nature Reserves. In subsequent years, additional reserves were created, bringing...

  10. PART FOUR Giant Panda Conservation

    • [PART FOUR Introduction]
      (pp. 213-216)

      Few will doubt that conserving nature requires the support of those who make the laws, shape the policies, and dole out the resources. The understanding that arises from an increased knowledge of nature and natural processes is critical to bending political wills in favor of any given conservation effort. For example, knowing the risk of extinction, given the life history of a taxon, could affect the level of public concern. An update on population numbers is a more obvious datum that is basic to action. As these two examples indicate, much of this volume is aimed at using science to...

      (pp. 217-225)
      Jianguo Liu, Zhiyun Ouyang, Hemin Zhang, Marc Linderman, Li An, Scott Bearer and Guangming He

      Since the 1970s, many biological studies on giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)have been conducted by scientists in China (e.g., Giant Panda Expedition 1974; Hu et al. 1980; Pan et al. 1988; Zhang et al. 1997) and from abroad (e.g., Schaller et al. 1985; Johnson et al. 1988; Reid et al. 1989; Reid and Hu 1991; Schaller 1993). These studies focused primarily on the biology of giant pandas in the field (including population dynamics, movement patterns, reproductive biology, and food habits) and in captivity (e.g., nutrition, reproduction, nursery for newborn pandas). For example, detailed individual information is available from those pandas...

    • PANEL REPORT 14.1 China’s National Plan for Conservation of the Giant Panda
      (pp. 226-227)
      Zhi Lü and Yongfan Liu

      China’s conservation management plan for the giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)(Chinese Ministry of Forestry and World Wildlife Fund 1989) has been in effect since 1993. Over the years since the publication of this document, and guided by the activities outlined therein, in situ conservation has made a great deal of progress. For example, twenty new reserves have been established or designated, reserve staff have received different types of training, integrated conservation and development projects are yielding positive results (with an emphasis on local participation), a third national survey on panda population and habitats has been completed, and international organizations have...

    • 15 Biological Framework for Evaluating Future Efforts in Giant Panda Conservation
      (pp. 228-233)
      Eric Dinerstein, Colby Loucks and Zhi Lü

      The chinese government began to take steps to protect wild panda populations in the early 1960s with the establishment of several nature reserves primarily to conserve giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca).However, it was not until 1989 that China’s Ministry of Forestry and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) presented a joint national conservation management plan for the giant panda and its habitat to the government of China (Chinese Ministry of Forestry and World Wide Fund 1989). The Chinese government eventually ratified the plan in 1992, and for the past decade, this plan has guided panda conservation activities. During this time,...

    • PANEL REPORT 15.1 National Survey of the Giant Panda
      (pp. 234-235)
      Changqing Yu and Shaoying Liu

      The first survey of giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)took place from roughly 1974 to 1977. According to a Chinese government report entitledConservation and Survey Meeting for Rare and Treasured Species in Important Provinces, Cities and Autonomous Districts, other rare species, such as golden monkeys (Rhinopithecusspp.) and musk deer(Moschus chrysogaster),were also censused. The distribution of giant pandas from county to county and their relative density was eventually reported and used in making assessments of the giant panda’s status in the wild.

      A second survey of giant pandas was carried out from 1985 to 1988. This was a...

      (pp. 236-245)
      John L. Gittleman and Andrea J. Webster

      All species ultimately go extinct. Currently, over 1100 mammal species (~25%) are threatened with the likelihood of extinction (Hilton-Taylor 2000). As extinction is a fundamental evolutionary process, not all of these species will survive. Today, however, the pattern and process of extinction is clearly different than in the geological past, as anthropogenic factors have become increasingly and distressingly influential. The risk of extinction now is a dual process of species’ biological characteristics adapting to extreme human effects of habitat loss, overexploitation, invasives, and other secondary “chains of extinction” (Diamond 1989). A primary task for conservation biology is to better understand...

    • PANEL REPORT 16.1 Reintroduction of Giant Pandas: AN UPDATE
      (pp. 246-249)
      Sue Mainka, Wnshi Pan, Devra Kleiman and Zhi Lü

      The IUCN–Species Survival Commission’s Reintroduction Specialist Group recognizes two reasons to undertake a reintroduction program for endangered species: (1) to augment the species population in the wild or (2) to increase genetic diversity in the wild. Reintroduction is not an appropriate strategy to deal with reducing a surplus of animals in captivity.

      Part of the rationale for maintaining giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)in captivity is to provide a source of animals for eventual reintroduction to the wild. In 1991, He and Gipps (1991: 19) evaluated the situation and concluded “it would be inappropriate to release captive pandas ... at this...

    • 17 Biomedical Survey of Captive Giant Pandas: A CATALYST FOR CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPS IN CHINA
      (pp. 250-263)
      Susie Ellis, Anju Zhang, Hemin Zhang, Jinguo Zhang, Zhihe Zhang, Mabel Lam, Mark Edwards, JoGayle Howard, Donald Janssen, Eric Miller and David Wildt

      Because of the precarious status of wild populations, giant pandas(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)in zoos and breeding centers play a crucial role in educating the public about the plight of their wild counterparts. Giant pandas existing in captivity also function as a critical “hedge” against extinction and serve as a potential resource for future reintroduction efforts. Additionally, captive giant pandas are important as a research resource and a means for attracting substantial public support for conservation of the species living in the wild (as well as for other endangered species endemic to China). At present, there are approximately 150 giant pandas...

      (pp. 264-267)
      Sarah M. Bexell, Lan Luo, Yan Hu, Terry L. Maple, Rita McManamon, Anju Zhang, Zhihe Zhang, Li Song Fei and Yuzhong Tian

      In the fall of 1999, as part of its giant panda(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)loan agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and China’s Association of Zoological Gardens and Ministry of Construction, Zoo Atlanta began to explore the possibility of assisting in the establishment of conservation education programs in China. A formal, long-term plan to establish these programs for the community of Chengdu (Sichuan Province) and its international community was forged in early 2000, with the Chengdu Zoo and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (hereafter the “Research Base”) as partners. Education departments were established at each of these...

    • WORKSHOP REPORT 17.1 International Coordination and Cooperation in the Conservation of Giant Pandas
      (pp. 268-270)
      J. Craig Potter and Kenneth Stansell

      Collaborative research and, indeed, the cooperative international exchange of giant pandas for any purpose necessarily rests on the foundation provided by multilateral policy governing the terms and conditions of such exchanges. Because all countries that have been involved in the international exchange of pandas thus far have been signatories to the Convention on International Trade and Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), guidance provided by that treaty is fundamental to the development of multilateral policy in this area. The history of CITES involvement with international exchanges and the guidelines that are currently in use must be taken into...

    (pp. 271-276)
    Donald Lindburg and Karen Baragona

    The world is now dotted with the “flyspecks of wilderness” lamented by Aldo Leopold (1949: 182) as he viewed the U.S. landscape half a century ago. One must search at great length today to find a place that can be called pristine, for even the trails to the top of Everest are littered with human debris. The home of the giant panda is no exception. For starters, unlike national parks or wildlife reserves in the West, many such facilities in China are also the ancestral homes of a significant human population (Liu et al., chapter 14). Whereas in times past,...

  12. APPENDIX A. Keynote Address
    (pp. 279-281)
    Fu Ma
  13. APPENDIX B. Keynote Address
    (pp. 282-285)
    Marshall Jones
  14. APPENDIX C. Memorandum of Consensus
    (pp. 286-288)
    (pp. 289-296)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 297-309)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 310-312)