Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pandas Aren't Facing Extinction Due to Evolution; They're Facing Extinction Due to Humans

Certainly, it's hard when anybody says, "just let the species die." Yet that's exactly what one British naturalist is saying about Pandas, declaring that it costs too much to keep them alive, and that they've worked themselves into an evolutionary "cul-de-sac." Even setting aside my primary disagreement based on the fact that for whatever reason, I really like pandas, I have to disagree with him for one very simple reason that this article highlights:

Giant pandas are confined to forest areas high in the mountains of southwestern China and have to consume large quantities of bamboo to survive.

They number around 1,600 and are threatened by agriculture, logging and China's increasing human population.

It seems to me that they aren't so much "doomed" due to the evolutionary path that they've taken. If left alone to their environment, they would have more than enough bamboo and land to continue surviving just fine. Unfortunately, deforestation, logging, and farming are destroying the panda's otherwise-supportive habitat. That's not an evolutionary cul-de-sac; it's one more example of humanity doing all it can to destroy other species, ecosystems, and the environment in the search of short-term profit.