Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PANDAS COULD BE GONE IN A FEW GENERATIONS

Phenomenica - China's giant panda could be extinct in just two to three generations as rapid economic development is infringing on its way of life, state media said, citing an expert at conservation group WWF. The problem is that the pandas' habitat is being split up into ever smaller patches, preventing the animals from roaming freely for mating partners and in turn endangering their gene pool, the Global Times reported. "If the panda cannot mate with those from other habitats, it may face extinction within two to three generations," said Fan Zhiyong, Beijing-based species programme director for WWF. "We have to act now." The risk of inbreeding is increasing, threatening to reduce the panda's resistance to diseases and lowering its ability to reproduce, the paper said.