Pandas are pretty dumb animals; they only eat bamboo, a food that is notoriously low on any kind of calorific value; they move so slowly that they struggle to protect themselves from anything (including humans) and they infamously refuse to mate. Many think that it is worth simply letting them die out, given the amount of money pumped into keeping them alive compared to their self-sufficiency.

However, a study published by Ecosphere shows that the huge conservationist effort made by the Chinese government in the preservation and restoration of some of China’s deforested areas has inadvertently led to the rise in animal numbers of golden monkeys, red pandas and Asiatic black bears.

This is just the beginning though—the restoration of the soil, and the planting of trees, with their deep reaching roots holding the soil together has led to a bloom of floral biodiversity. This in turn has led to the rise in one of the least looked at animals in the animal kingdom, the lowly earthworm—an animal that is absolutely vital in maintaining the quality of soil.

What this has also meant overall is that areas outside the panda habitats have also improved, as the effects have spread beyond the borders set up by the Chinese government.

Students looking to study Biology can look at how animals adapt to live in certain areas, and how animals that initially seem as stupid as the panda or the sloth have evolved to be that way. HSPS or Geography students can consider how decisions are made on which animals we choose to heavily focus on in terms of conservation (pandas, tigers etc) and how this might extrapolate to the political sphere. 

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