While the newborn panda cub at Washington’s National Zoo appears to be healthy after a scare, Timothy Lavin offers a list of reasons against continued efforts to preserve the widely-loved species native to China’s southwest. From Bloomberg:
[…]the first test of a species’ worthiness for conservation should be some instinct for self-preservation. And pandas fail objectively.
[…]Lu Zhi, a panda expert from Beijing University, has said that trying to reintroduce pandas to the wild is as “pointless as taking off the pants in order to fart.” Yet the Chinese government — which sees pandas as a source of national pride — spares no expense on them. That includes funding the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda, where researchers dress up in preposterous panda costumes (I’m really not joking about this) hoping to fool cubs into thinking they’re a relative.
This in a country where roughly 160 million people still live in extreme poverty. And all to protect about 1,600 dim herbivores that are debasing the word “bear,” which otherwise applies to noble beasts that manage to find plenty to eat in the wild.
Look, Darwinism isn’t for crybabies. And conservation requires making tough choices. Pandas had a pretty good run for 3 million years. All that money is better spent on preserving diverse habitats rather than on a single hopeless species. [Source]