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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

A very anti-conservationist article

CHINA | Monday, 18 February 2008 | Views [1445] | Comments [1]

A question: what is the point of saving animals that are going extinct?  I know this sounds very chauvinist and not very avant-garde, but seriously...think about it. 

We visited two areas of breeding captivity on our trip -- the Siberian Tigers in Harbin and the Pandas in Chengdu.  I'll be the first to admit that China should not be a litmus by which to judge the benefits and perils of sustaining animals in cement cigar boxes.  But an existenial side of Mario got me thinking about WHY?

Why, for instance, is it necessary to save these animals who are only surviving by being forced to breed (in the case of the pandas, by artificial insemination), but can never be released to the wild?  Like any good liberal, I'm an advocate of reproductive rights.  But this doesn't seem to fit in those views.  These animals, quite literally, have no rights.  They are being sedated for impregnation.  Often, they can't care for their offspring, so the babies are rescued from the mother at birth (or she'd kill it fearing the unknown). 

The babies then grow up under the care of humans who treat them like human children (I witnessed this), indoctrinating a life of complete dependence on the humans for food, health care, and shelter.  The pandas, unlike the humans, receive air conditioning in the summer even though they live below the nationally designated line for where air conditioning is not needed.

I read in the Lonely Planet (not the most scholarly piece of writing, I admit) that the pandas were dying off due to natural deforestation, not human intervention.  Pandas survive almost solely on bamboo.  They evolved from meat eaters to placid plant eaters some time ago.  And bamboo has a natural cycle of flowering that effectively kills the plant, leaving no food for the panda.  This is what was causing the extinction. 

There seems to be no reason whatsoever of keeping these animals in existance.  Unless, of course, you consider what is now known as "Panda Diplomacy".  While China takes a lot of grief about it, they have been known to settle heated relations with other countries by shipping a panda or two over.  They also bring in a substantial chunk of change by having them caged in every zoo in China for saps like me to oh and ah over. 

If that is the true motive behind maintaining the panda population, then I already feel guilty for participating. 

Tags: On the Road

Comments

1

If i were a panda,i would rather choose suicide,thats ture.
But this country has lost so many things it had,so,we are struggling to keep whatever left,including panda. and we are selfish...feeling proud to take them as babe,as human being,and feeling guilty to take their freedom away.
If there's no more panda,i will feel much more sad not because what diplomacy,just for its 'cuteness'. we are selfish,again!

  You Feb 24, 2008 11:29 PM

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