I work in the Conservation Education Department at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to help spread conservation information about giant pandas. My job gives me many opportunities to meet people from around the world, gathering in one place because of their curiosity and love for giant pandas. Each person pays respect and shows concern in his or her own way. Some are entranced, moved to tears when they finally meet a panda. Others devote themselves to learning as much panda knowledge as they can and take action with conservation efforts. Some arrive from long distances every year just for the purpose of meeting pandas.
Humanity is drawn to the giant panda and has incorporated the creature into culture for hundreds of years. Due to its charming appearance, the species has become one of the most popular animals in the world. Pandas star as lead characters in film and television with one of the more famous examples being the animated movie “Kung Fu Panda”. The giant panda has served as a symbol of peace throughout history. There are records from the First Year of the Vertical Arch (685 AD) that a pair of pandas were presented to Emperor Temmu of Japan by Empress Dowager Wu Zetian as “friendship ambassadors”. The giant panda is an ancient species which has existed on the Earth for over 8 million years. Many animals recorded living at that time have since gone extinct, so scientists call giant pandas a “living fossil’ and there are still many mysteries to solve and questions to answer about this majestic animal.
Most importantly, individual giant pandas are unique spirits, each of them having different personalities and characteristics that people enjoy learning about. Many people have formed strong ties of friendship because of their connection to pandas.
We are touched by those who care about and work toward the conservation of giant pandas. It is a good time to introduce some of them to the public in order to combine the tiny effects into enormous energy and to attract more people to join us. Public involvement provides panda conservation workers more confidence and hope for the future of giant pandas and other endangered species.