Giving the Giant Panda a Chance
While at one time there had been disagreement about conservation of giant pandas—including questions about whether they could or even should be saved from extinction—public awareness of the giant panda’s plight had now led to a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration among researchers and conservationists. In October 2000, the San Diego Zoo hosted an international conference, Panda 2000: Conservation Priorities for the New Millennium, to bring together leading giant panda specialists, share knowledge, and solidify policies.
The China Wildlife Conservation Association and the Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens cosponsored the conference, and there were 85 presentations on aspects of giant panda conservation, breeding, and scientific studies. Delegates attended from China, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Workshops, panel discussions, and paper and poster sessions led to lively debate and consensus building. Contributions shed new light on longstanding issues, informed about recent findings, and identified the most critical goals and priorities for action plans.
The Panda 2000 conference resulted in the conservation community strengthening its commitment to saving the giant panda. Could the giant panda be saved? The answer was yes, the giant panda would have its day.