"Poor Yang Yang and Kou Kou and Lun Lun," said Britain's The Independent. BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham told Radio Times magazine Monday that while we spend a fortune trying to save the giant panda, largely because it's cute, the money would be better invested helping other species. He said the panda has "gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac" and "I reckon we should pull the plug."
"Well, that's wretched, although there are maybe a few grains of validity here," said Bradford Plumer in The New Republic. "It's true that our efforts to save endangered species tend to place too much emphasis on charismatic megafauna like pandas and bald eagles and sea turtles, while homelier strains of beetle or mussel get little love." But "the panda's spectacularly cute and incredibly popular, and it's not like the World Wildlife Federation could fundraise just as much money with pleas to save the pink-tailed worm lizard."
Chris Packham is being vilified for having the courage to speak the truth, said James Kirkup in Britain's Telegraph. "Pandas are pointless, wasteful, and silly. They should die." Conservationists insist pandas are victims because industrialization is killing the "precious bamboo" forests they need to survive—but other species cope "with a changing world without going bleating to the WWF. This is evolution: Adapt or die. Being cute and fluffy doesn’t give you any special rights, fatso."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
Subscribe to the Week