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3 - Factors limiting reproductive success in the giant panda as revealed by a Biomedical Survey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2009

Susie Ellis
Affiliation:
Conservation International
Donald Lo Janssen
Affiliation:
San Diego Zoo, Zoological Society of San Diego
Mark S. Edwards
Affiliation:
San Diego Zoo, Zoological Society of San Diego
Jogayle Howard
Affiliation:
National Zoological Park
Guangxin He
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Jianqiu Yu
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding
Guiquan Zhang
Affiliation:
China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda
Rongping Wei
Affiliation:
China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda
R. Eric Miller
Affiliation:
Saint Louis Zoo, WildCare Institute
David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
National Zoological Park
David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
Smithsonian National Zoological Park, Washington DC
Anju Zhang
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Hemin Zhang
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation and Research Center for Giant Pandas
Donald L. Janssen
Affiliation:
Zoological Society of San Diego
Susie Ellis
Affiliation:
Conservation Breeding Specialist Group
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

There is surprisingly little published information about giant panda biology, especially in the life sciences. This poor quantity (and quality) of data has been due primarily to too few individual animals available for study and a traditional hands-off policy towards hands-on research in such a rare and high-profile species. However, recent changes (see Chapter 2) have created important, new opportunities for giant panda investigations. People responsible for ensuring that the species survives now realise that giant pandas living in zoos and breeding centres are a valuable research resource (see Chapter 1). It also has been recognised that this population must be intensively managed if it is truly to support giant pandas that are surviving precariously in nature. The intended result will be an ever-increasing amount of new, scholarly information and sufficient panda numbers to continue educating the public, helping to raise conservation funding, serving as a hedge against extinction, and even as a source of animals for potential reintroductions. However, these laudable goals can only be achieved by first understanding and then rigorously managing the captive population so that it becomes demographically and genetically stable. This, in fact, has become the mantra of Chinese managers of the ex situ population: ‘to develop a self-sustaining, captive population of giant pandas that will assist supporting a long-term, viable population in the wild’ (see Chapter 2).

Type
Chapter
Information
Giant Pandas
Biology, Veterinary Medicine and Management
, pp. 37 - 58
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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References

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