Giant panda can survive

Aug 24, 2007
Giant Panda
Giant panda. Credit: Yange Yong

The giant panda is not at an “evolutionary dead end” and could have a long term viable future, according to new research involving scientists from Cardiff University.

Previous studies have found that the giant panda’s isolation, unusual dietary requirements and slow reproductive rates have led to a lack of genetic diversity that will inevitably lead the species to extinction.

Now a study by Professor Michael Bruford and Dr Benoît Goossens from the School of Biosciences, in collaboration with Professor Fuwen Wei and colleagues from the Institute of Zoology along with the China West Normal University in Sichuan, has found that the decline of the species can be linked directly to human activities rather than a genetic inability to adapt and evolve.

“Our research challenges the hypothesis that giant panda’s are at an ‘evolutionary dead end’” said Professor Bruford. “It is however clear that the species has suffered demographically at the hands of human activities such as deforestation and poaching”.

The study gives a new genetic perspective on the giant panda, as well as tracing its demographic history. The research also shows that in areas where habit conservation projects are in place, the giant panda is flourishing and population numbers are increasing.

“Our research suggests we have to revise our thinking about the evolutionary prospects for the giant panda” said Professor Bruford. “The species has a viable future and possesses the genetic capacity to adapt to new circumstances. Conservation efforts should therefore be directed towards habitat restoration and protection. In their natural environment, the giant panda is a species that can have a bright future.”

Source: Cardiff University

Explore further: Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study targets biodiversity conservation under-funders

Jul 03, 2013

If you take into consideration how much a country is expected to spend on conserving biodiversity, based on its size, wealth and share of biodiversity, a new study uncovers some surprising delinquents.

Recommended for you

Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana

Nov 21, 2014

The exclusive club of explorers who have discovered a rare new species of life isn't restricted to globetrotters traveling to remote locations like the Amazon rainforests, Madagascar or the woodlands of the ...

Mysterious glowworm found in Peruvian rainforest

Nov 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —Wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer has discovered what appears to be a new type of bioluminescent larvae. He told members of the press recently that he was walking near a camp in the Peruvian ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.