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22 - Partnerships and capacity building for securing giant pandas ex situ and in situ: how zoos are contributing to conservation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 August 2009

David E. Wildt
Affiliation:
National Zoological Park
Xiaoping Lu
Affiliation:
CITES Management Authority of China
Mabel Lam
Affiliation:
M. L. Associates, LLC
Zhihe Zhang
Affiliation:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
Susie Ellis
Affiliation:
Conservation International
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

The new information in this book is largely the product of a series of successful cross-cultural and biological experiments – that is, people with diverse backgrounds and skills working together over time to create scholarly information, which is already being used to enhance giant panda management. Much of the progress is the result of personal relationships that developed during the course of the Survey, which, in turn, provided some valuable lessons about working together in China. Among these is the importance of developing respectful, collegial partnerships. This does not mean a one-time meeting or research study but rather long-lasting relationships that are sustained over many years. This obviously requires substantial investments of time and money, and fierce commitments by all parties. In China, this also means the need for frequent face-to-face interaction.

Remarkably, all of this has transpired to benefit giant pandas, both ex situ and in situ. While this chapter briefly reviews why success occurred, its main purpose is to share new information about the larger impacts of these relationships. In particular, we examine how partnerships involving giant pandas are addressing one of China's most frequently identified needs – capacity building, thereby creating the next generation of skilled biologists and managers devoted to conserving Chinese wildlife and their habitats. Interestingly, zoos are a major force taking many of these steps forward.

WHY SUCCESS TO DATE?

There are three elements responsible for the significant increase in knowledge about giant panda biology, as follows.

Type
Chapter
Information
Giant Pandas
Biology, Veterinary Medicine and Management
, pp. 520 - 540
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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References

Giant Panda Conservation Foundation (2004). USA American Zoo and Aquarium Association Giant Panda Initiative: Summary of Annual Financial Reports for the Years 2000–2003, ed. D. Kelly and K. Heagney.
Hutchins, M., Smith, B. and Allard, R. (2003). In defense of zoos and aquariums: the ethical basis of keeping wild animals in captivity. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 7, 958–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mainka, S., Pan, W., Kleiman, D. and Lu, Z. (2004). Reintroduction of giant pandas. In Giant Pandas: Biology and Conservation, ed. Lindburg, D. and Baragona, K.. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, pp. 246–9.Google Scholar
Miller, B., Conway, W., Reading, R. P.et al. (2004). Evaluating the conservation mission of zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens and natural history museums. Conservation Biology, 18, 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Brien, S. J. (1987). The ancestry of the giant panda. Scientific American, November, 102–7.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wildt, D. E. (2004). More meaningful wildlife research by prioritizing science, linking disciplines and building capacity. In Experimental Approaches to Conservation Biology, ed. Gordon, M. S. and Bartol, S. M.. Berkeley, CA:University of California Press, pp. 282–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wildt, D. E., Ellis, S., Janssen, D. and Buff, J. (2003). Toward more effective reproductive science in conservation. In Reproductive Sciences and Integrated Conservation, ed. Holt, W. V., Pickard, A., Rodger, J. C. and Wildt, D. E.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 2–20.Google Scholar
Yan, X., Deng, X., Zhang, H.et al. (2000). Giant Panda Conservation Assessment and Research Techniques Workshop, Final Report. Apple Valley, MN: IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.Google Scholar

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