The Words of the Council:
A report from the person who carried Giant Panda

"When I first found out, during the journeying, that Giant Panda wanted to be present at the Council, he made it clear that through being used as a symbol of endangered species because of their (to us) cute image, they were not being taken seriously - their plight is very real!

After the weekend I found out what I could about Pandas and there were a lot of things that Panda told me/said that I hadn't known before, that were confirmed.

But one thing that really impressed me was that although they are natural carnivores, they have chosen to be 90-95% vegetarian - bamboo mostly, even though they find it hard to digest and have developed a hard oesophagus to cope, and they need to eat a lot of it.

Bamboo forests die back after a while before they can regenerate. This is not due to their being over-eaten, but their life-cycle; when this happens pandas must find another source and this is where a lot of pandas die: it is usually so far between forests, because of human development, that they starve: clearly they don't scavenge or kill much (and then only very small animals).

Apparently it is very difficult to artificially create a bamboo forest, so the damage done is very hard to undo. Pandas are also killed for their 'pelts' although I think it might be illegal.

These are the two factors in their decline, and their numbers are difficult to increase as they are mostly solitary, not very sexually active and produce a litter of one, sometimes two - but one usually dies ( in my rattled journey Panda did me the honour of letting me see twin cubs).

There has only been one recorded incident of a Giant Panda attacking a human: A woman fell down (a bank?) to where one was eating and took it by surprise. It bit her twice in the leg, but she sustained no serious damage.

The Chinese in battle use a banner with the emblem of a Giant Panda on it where we would use a white flag to end the battle - a symbol of peace.

The symbol of the Giant Panda is also used to ward off natural disasters and for exorcising evil spirits. So by killing them for their skins and through taking away their habitat, we are symbolically inviting war, natural disasters and evil spirits!!!"

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