Panda Updates – Monday, February 21
When you visit Zoo Atlanta, you probably realize you are contributing to conservation efforts benefiting charismatic species around the world, including the giant panda. What can be easy to forget, however, is that when habitat is preserved for an animal like giant pandas, it helps many other species. There’s a term for this you might remember from high school biology – “umbrella species.”
Giant pandas are charismatic megafauna (read: big, cute animals we all love!), and it’s easy to get excited about conserving them and protecting their habitats. Conservation efforts that aid giant pandas result in a whole lot of other species being protected under their wide “umbrella.” Some species that benefit from conservation programs focused on giant pandas include takins, stick insects, golden eagles, clouded leopards, and macaques. Plant species fall under this “umbrella,” too! China has many endemic plants that thrive within giant panda territories and are protected when these habitats are preserved.
The next time you come to the Zoo, pat yourself on the back! You just helped to conserve a LOT of species!
Kelly, C. (n.d.). Connecting pandas, people and nature. Hassell. Retrieved February 15, 2022, from https://www.hassellstudio.com/conversation/connecting-pandas-people-and-nature#:~:text=DEFINING%20A%20FLAGSHIP%20SPECIES,other%20endemic%20species%20within%20China.
Keeper III, Mammals