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Protecting Giant Pandas Protects Other Species

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The resources put behind protecting giant pandas has been questioned by many. However, a new study recently published in the journal Conservation Biology, all the time and effort is worth it because all the efforts to save the giant pandas is also benefitting China’s other endemic species.

giant pandas

Image: Tumblr

Lead author Binbin Li of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, stated: “Many have worried that in protecting the giant panda, we might be neglecting other species, but this isn’t the case.”

Co-author Stuart Pimm, also at Duke University, added: “The panda is the most iconic endangered species, so it seemed sensible for us to ask the very tough question of whether species were sheltering under its umbrella. The fact is that many are.”

The investigative team started their project by analyzing maps gathered by numerous naturalists. The maps showed the location of China’s mammals, birds and amphibians. They concentrated on China’s endemic species which are more vulnerable than other widespread species.

The researchers discovered that the endemic species were mainly in southwest China’s mountains. Specifically, the species inhabit the Sichuan Province. This is also where the giant pandas live.

The geographical range of the giant pandas overlaps with 70 percent of forest mammals, 70 percent forest bird species and 31 percent of forests. With both the people and government of China so focused o saving giant pandas, Li notes it is easier to set aside new protected regions in the area.

Ben Collen of University College London in the UK told the BBC: “The fact that there’s a lot of other species included in those reserves is a real bonus for conservation. No one designed that. We got that for free.”

He agrees that it’s possible to protect many endemic species by focusing on the giant pandas. He concludes: “Conservation biologists love to look for shortcuts to how [we can] most cost-effectively protect biodiversity.”

Protecting Giant Pandas Protects Other Species

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.