Animal Emotions

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Are Fluffy Pandas Worth Saving or Should We Let Them Go?

These difficult questions raise complex issues some of which many like to avoid. The dire real world situation demands that we need to make tough choices about who lives and who dies that may work against a "fluffy, cuddly bear". More and more researchers are taking the view that we can't fix everything and that we need to make choices about who to save and who to let go. Read More

saving pandas

This is an important and complex issue. I don't have an answer, but this made me think of an earlier post in which I posed a similar question, much more simply:

I love Panadas but I have to

I love Panadas but I have to admit they really suck at existing. I have to wonder how long the species would have made it even without humans around.

I think we need to remember that the majority of all species that have ever been on the planet are now extinct. Chances are we will never be able to save everything unless we find a way to have total control over the climate of the planet.

... I would be happy if we could protect ourselves from extinction.

What led us to this choice?

I would love to hear the outcome of an animal referendum on the choice of our extinction. We might be happy protecting ourselves from that fate but - except for a few of our pets - the animals would be happy to let most human species go. We made their lives hell, making it worse every year. So far for our sorry evolution and our destructive impact on nature.
I have to admit that we really suck at existing and only few animals make an effort to wipe us out.

If there are too few with nothing to eat and nowhere to go the pandas are at the brink of their extinction and I agree with the observation that life in captivity is no life worth living. So it appears that it is too late for the pandas. The rhinos, blue tunas, elephants etc are almost at the end of the same path. Their fate is not a whim of nature, climate change, volcanic eruption or asteroid impact. It is the result of deliberate well planned and executed human behavior.

Choices to "let species go" should reflect our responsibility for the causes of their extinction and our intention to act on it. I can accept a passive (let go) attitude if it concerns a natural cause. But where we have been instrumental in impending extinction, we must act in an ultimate effort to save a species.

This subject again stresses the urgency for preventive political, legal and psychological action against destruction of nature.

Perhaps if more species

Perhaps if more species actually died out and we didnt pretend to put a bandaid on the problem, we could take a really hard look at ourselves and realize that we are a problem.

One reason for overemphasizing

the cute creatures is that it's popular with the public, and the public is where the $$$ comes from for conservation. The cute animals act as poster child to get the public to open the wallets. People are going to be more willing to donate $10 to "save the Pandas" than they are to "save the dung beetle".

If you decide to let the panda go extinct, you have to find a new poster child.

Why the Panda?

Do people hear what they are asking and how they are reasoning ?
If there are so many endangered species that they can't all be saved - why not the panda ? If it doesn't matter anyway
who is picked ..? apart from the panda question -- the alarming thing is that the philosophy desplayed seems totally nonsensic ....

Because some *can* be saved,

that's the point. The panda is a large, shy creature with specific territorial and dietary needs, and there may not be room for it, but people will waste millions trying to save it anyway because it's cute. Those resources could have gone to save something with more manageable needs and better chance of success.

Keystone species.....

As anyone knows who is actually involved with trying to save, not just one species, but ENTIRE ECOSYSTEMS, the best tactic(so far) is to get people to help fund and be concerned over certain human-appealing species(like pandas, or elephants, or jaguars, or wolves) because they can relate to them better(and are therefore more likely to want to support such efforts). In preserving such "keystone species", you must preserve their habitats(of course), and this ends up PRESERVING EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE HABITAT! Even if a species is only surviving in zoos at the present(or near future) time, that doesn't mean that is FOREVER. Various animals preserved and bred in zoos, that went extinct in the wild, were later(upon habitat restoration, better laws and controls, local cultural changes, etc.) rereleased into the wild successfully, and exist in healthy, free, wild populations today(or could in the future) because of these efforts. I, for one, even if humans eventually destroy everything but their own inept selfish arses, would still want to be included among those humans that TRIED to help save anything and everything I could. Nothing will be accomplished by simply giving up! LOTS OF SPECIES HAVE BEEN SAVED!. And all zoos just being animals condemned to "cages"? How inaccurate. Only BAD zoos are like that now. Some of the nicer, natural habitat zoos provide darn good, even luxuriant homes for many animals. All zoos ARE NOT the same! What do you say to people who are willing to let species go extinct because of some political human distaste for ANY type of captivity? And who can't see beyond their own miniscule generation? What is so ironic is that a lot of these same people live in very urban, restricted(in regards to their own movements and freedom) artificial environments not unlike the zoo animals whose lives they are so critical of! How many, I wonder, have even a fraction of the "freedom" that their hunter-gatherer or nomadic pastoralist ancestors had? Well, maybe because they can't live in these more ecologically natural ways, THEY should just be allowed to go extinct as well. It WOULD free up a lot of habitat for other critters......

And Noah said unto Moses... Let the people go!

None of these extinctions would be happening -- at least not at the rate they are -- without the harmful influences of people. People SUCK and there are too many of them. We aren't any more special than any other species, and in fact, I think we're the absolute worst, worse than boll weevils, cockroaches, leeches, mosquitoes and other so-called "pests" that we try to exterminate. We've destroyed the ecosystem and other species' natural habitats by crowding them out with our own. As someone who is vegan, childfree and a hard-bitten misanthrope (with an ASPCA ad on TV at the moment), I say do away with people and raise them as Soylent Pet Food.


Being special should be no problem!

SHsshhh - shSHshSSH- SHSH ( HI, in the TIGER language )

......on the contrary the whole world and all the creatures including us the human animals should be benefitting from it - the empathic, socially oriented nice creatures we are born, who should be able to use their insight to better their environment We have to revalue the framework that we live in,the one that distorts us and destroys,as the above comment illustrates,our hopes and trusts But we can always start living up to our potential .... going vegan up the habit of projecting our miseries onto animals and the other hateful routine of looking for excuses for preserving unsustainable traditions and some more...and I don'T know... hating ourselves will just not help, I'm afraid - true, there are disreputable people - the sucks - but so very often you just feel sorrow for their emotional and intellectual misery?!


You folks do realize

that nature itself has already extincted more species than currently exist? You also realize that humans are a natural part of this world? Therefore, whatever humans do is also "natural", despite the pathological denial of the phony environmentalists.

It makes sense to try to keep things clean and sustainable, but pretending that you can "save the planet" through hysterical self-loathing and buying the right light bulb is childish and foolish.

why not save all?

Why do u have to choose? why not save all?

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Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


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