Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Are China's pandas in jeopardy or recovering?

Depends on whether you believe a British newspaper or an American one.

Times Online:

Yan Xun, an official at the State Forestry Administration, said: “Their living environment is completely destroyed. Massive landslides and large-scale damage to forests triggered by last month’s earthquake are threatening the existence of wild pandas.”

Washington Post

Those efforts are working. The 47 giant pandas currently living here are regaining their appetites and returning to active play. The sound of a car or the shaking of an aftershock no longer sends them bolting in fright. Rather, Qing Qing is like many others as she grabs a handful of bamboo and flops onto her back to munch peacefully, belly to the sun.

I guess they don't have to be mutually exclusive, necessarily: pandas at Wolong are doing better, while those in the wild face very serious threats. Still, it's interesting to see how the headline writers -- i.e. editors -- chose to spin the two stories. The truth? Probably somewhere in the middle.

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