Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-mp689 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-22T08:32:31.400Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2009

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
Get access

Summary

Conserving biodiversity is a daunting and complex task. Perhaps no species presents a greater challenge than the giant panda – one of the most recognized and threatened animals on the planet. Its difficult-to-traverse, mountainous habitat in China makes quantifying population numbers in the wild exceedingly difficult. Despite a recent survey suggesting that the wild population may be growing, there is no disagreement that the primary threat is severely fragmented habitat. There now are more than 40 isolated populations, many too small or containing too few giant pandas to be demographically and genetically viable for much longer.

Seminal studies have been conducted on wild giant panda ecology by pioneers such as Wenshi Pan, Zhi Lu and George Schaller. However, we still have only touched on the full complement of information necessary for integrated and robust conservation initiatives. One threat to overall giant panda conservation is simply the lack of broad-based knowledge about its biology. This is particularly important for such an evolutionarily distinct species. Its biological systems are unconventional: distinctive from bears, but a derivative of the ursine lineage; a bear-like, monogastric animal that largely survives on grass (bamboo); and a species that has somehow survived to modern times despite an extraordinarily short (three-day) window of sexual receptivity for the female. Surely, a more detailed understanding of such phenomena is critical, both from a scholarly perspective as well as to provide data that can inform wise management decisions.

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

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×