I was delighted to win this beautiful book from Saraband Books in a competition on Twitter. In return I said I would write a review. I kept picking up the book and it was a while before I actually got round to reading it, because it is so full of adorable photos of cute pandas - groups of baby pandas, pandas hanging from trees in improbable poses, pandas rolling in the snow, pandas ambling through forest! Crafty Green Boyfriend must have got heartily sick of hearing me say 'oh look at this adorable panda!'.
But this isn't just a book full of adorable photos of cute pandas. It is also a concise and beautifully written account of the panda - its lifestyle, its biology, its evolution, its conservation status and the work that is being done to increase the population of pandas, and its importance as a cute cuddly poster animal to help stimulate the conservation of its habitat and the other animals that share that habitat. It also outlines how China has used gifts of pandas in international diplomacy for centuries!
The iconic giant panda is unique: it has no close relatives in the
animal world. But despite becoming a symbol of wildlife conservation,
having narrowly avoided extinction, there are fewer than 2000 giant
pandas alive today. This spectacular celebration of our best-loved bear
combines the expertise of the foremost panda conservationists with an
extraordinary collection of previously unseen photographs by the world’s
leading photographer of pandas in the wild. Catch a rare glimpse of
this shy creature at home in the remote mountain wilderness of Sichuan,
and peek inside the nursery at the Wolong research institution where
efforts to save the panda have been bearing fruit.
This is a wonderful book for anyone who loves pandas (and who doesn't?).
Sales of this book support the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, which is owned and managed by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. A word about zoos may be in order then! Yes I have visited the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo and it was an amazing experience, what lovely animals. I don't like to see animals in caged enclosures, even when the enclosures are large and comfy looking as many of them are at Edinburgh Zoo. But I'd far rather see animals in a zoo than entirely extinct (and many zoos are actively involved in returning animals to the wild and conserving natural populations). Their being in a zoo at least leaves the hope that one day they can be released back into their natural habitat, where they belong. And given that it's our fault that they're losing their natural habitat, the least we can do surely, is offer them an alternative place to live?
Panda: Back from the Brink published by Saraband Books.
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