Let giant pandas go extinct, says leading conservationist

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Sydney, September 23 (ANI): BBC wildlife presenter and conservationist Chris Packham has stirred controversy after calling on wildlife groups to let giant pandas go extinct because of their inability to effectively evolve.

According to a report in www.news.com.au, the leading conservationist has called on wildlife groups to leave giant pandas alone and let them die out "with a degree of dignity".

Packham said that it's the pandas own fault that they have not adapted to the modern environment and they are only surviving because of human intervention.

"Here is a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac," Packham said.

"It's not a strong species. I reckon we should pull the plug ... let them go, with a degree of dignity," he added.

He said that the pandas' "cute" looks and demeanour has caused valuable funding to be diverted from helping animals that have a chance of surviving without human assistance in the future.

His comments were criticized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which uses a picture of a giant panda as its logo.

WWF conservation science advisor Dr Mark Wright said the comments were "daft" because pandas have adapted to the environment.

"It's like saying the blue whale is in an evolutional cul-de-sac because it lives in the ocean," Dr Wright said.

"Pandas face extinction because of poaching and humans moving into their habitat. If left alone, then they function perfectly well," he added.

According to the WWF, there is believed to be more than 1600 giant pandas in the wild. The organisation said the panda population currently lives in about 20 small regions in China. (ANI)

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