The giant panda is the world's most beloved animal -- and one of the rarest.
Firefly Animal Rescue is a new series of books about endangered and threatened species and what is being done to protect them. It is aimed at readers aged 10 and up with accessible text and color photographs.
Each book introduces readers to a featured animal, explains the threats it is facing, and explores efforts to protect it. Young readers will be inspired by the leading scientists and conservationists who work in the field, in labs and on the public stage. The books conclude with additional resources for those who want to help.
Panda Rescue takes readers into the remote bamboo forests of China, where scientists can spend years without ever seeing the elusive animal. It looks inside one of the largest breeding centres in China and reveals some controversial attempts to save the species. And it explains how our fascination with captive pandas has become a threat of its own.
Tracing the colorful history of the black-and-white bear, Panda Rescue shows why many conservationists remain hopeful about the animal's future.
About the Firefly Animal Rescue series:
The Firefly Animal Rescue identifies endangered and threatened species and what is being done to protect them. Combining lively, accessible text and stunning color photographs, each book provides a detailed overview of the species, describing its characteristics, behavior, habits, physiology and more.
"These attractive books are a call to action... fascinating readable accounts."
- School Library Journal
"Succinct introductions to the science and practice of wildlife conservation... written in accessible, lively language."
Dan Bortolotti is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in many magazines, including Equinox, Canadian Geographic, and OWL. He is the author of Exploring Saturn.
The Beauty of the Beast
No animal has made a more powerful impression on humanity in so little time.
In the West and even in its native China, the giant panda has been part of popular culture for less than a century. In North America, few had even seen a live panda before 1936, when one was exhibited at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo. But only a few decades later, the black-and-white bear had become the most beloved animal in the world, and an emblem of all endangered species.
According to George Schaller, the first Western scientist to study them, "There are two giant pandas: the one that exists in our mind and the one that lives in its wilderness home." It's true. Wild pandas are unimpressive in size and speed. They're unsociable and spend almost all their time eating, sleeping and defecating. Yet many people look into the panda's round face with those expressive eyes, and declare it the most intriguing and loveable of creatures. The giant panda has charmed us with its simple, unique beauty.
But this beauty is fragile. Three million years ago, the panda's range extended throughout much of eastern China and into Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Vietman. Today, with just over 1,000 remaining in the wild, the giant panda is one of the rarest of mammals, scratching out a living in a country of more than a billion people. If current trends continue -- especially the destruction of its habitat -- stuffed toys may be all that future generations will have left of these real-life teddy bears.
Fortunately, the Chinese -- with the help of dedicated scientists and conservationists around the world -- are beginning to reverse these trends.
The beauty of the beast
If a tree falls in the forest
The panda goes West
The skin trade
AT WORK: Luo Lan