Through the stress of upcoming finals, I figured we could all use a little cute, and what better than pandas?
Now of course, I did actually do some research for this one, but you bet your ass I am going to present it in a visually cuddly way (especially since some of the stuff isn’t super cuddly).
Pictured above is Pan Pan, which loosely means ‘Hope’ which I learned after reading all about his legacy in this article on FiveThirtyEight. Pan Pan passed last year, but not before leaving 130 panda descendants in his stead.
Pan Pan is credited with being one of the most successful sexual pandas. He helped panda researchers in breeding programs that natural breeding is more successful than insemination or more pressured or forced couplings. He’s a stud, and studs apparently make a lot of babies. His studly genes were even passed on. Some of his descendants are known for being successful breeders. Unfortunately, there are problems that arose once the hurdle of endangerment was crossed.
Pandas like Pan Pan that were raised in captivity are often more domesticated and lose the abilities they need to survive in the while after a few generations of breeding. Very few pandas are released into the wild. After that, there is still an issue that unless groups of wild pandas cross paths and mate, inbreeding can affect and destroy the group.
On the flip side, a similar issue is already happening in captivity. Researchers are scrambling to increase gene variability by increasing the number of successful mating pandas.
Fortunately, other endangered species have gone through similar experiences when raised and bred in zoos and conservation sites. That information is now in the researcher’s hands to translate into panda terms and hopefully rebuild the strength of the species.
Hopefully in the next decade of panda research and captive breeding, we will see more pandas successfully entering the wild and increasing the gene pool.
Here are more pictures of pandas.