Monday, 7 January 2013

Panda: Back from the Brink

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.

As ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to other webpages where you can find out more.

7 comments:

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Well.. the female panda I saw at the Edimburgh zoo was showing only her head and back and was sleeping.

The male on the other side was sleeping too but woke up at a point, seeing him scratching his belly was an image of absolute serenity.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Tommaso - pandas spend a lot of time asleep....

Rabbits' Guy said...

Looks to be a great book and story. Pandas were featured in our local paper the other day.

Christina said...

They are such lovely creatures.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

When there was a big earthquake in China a couple years ago there was some really touching footage of pandas and their caregivers, who appeared to be devoted beyond the call of duty to their black and white rolly polly charges.

Caroline Gill said...

An enticing review, Juliet! I was particularly grateful that you took the trouble to formulate your view on zoos, with threatened species in mind. I recall going to Gerald Durrell's Jersey Zoo way back in the early-mid 1970s, and being entranced as a teenager not only by the creatures themselves but by what could be done for them to give them that 'vital' chance to enable members of their species to breed and return to the wild. There are, of course, zoos and zoos . . .

Rachel Fox said...

Have yet to take our girl to see the pandas (sleep) down south in Edinburgh. Might manage it this year.

Love the image of you boring your man with pandas!

x