Ancestors of giant pandas eat meat, not bamboo, says panda 'godfather'
Aug. 23 (NBD) -- The theme activity "Panda China-Sichuan Night" held on Tuesday night in Beijing during the First China Giant Panda International Cultural Week welcomed over 100 distinguished guests at home and abroad.
Korn Dabbaransi, former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, said at the event that giant pandas and the cultural peripherals would remain the bridge connecting China and Thailand. By developing more products and services related to giant pandas would appeal to more people to get to know China, Sichuan province as well as giant pandas, Dabbaransi pointed out.
Korn Dabbaransi (Photo/Li Biao)
The Party chief of Sichuan Province Peng Qinghua, when delivering the speech, also praised giant pandas for their precious role in displaying Sichuan characteristics to the world. Sichuan, well-known as "the land of abundance", is home to giant pandas, a tourist attraction, a vigorous land with great developing prospects and a forefront of reform and opening-up, Peng said.
The southwest China's province plans to recruit 100 ambassadors around the globe to promote giant panda culture in the next five years, in a bit to bring the world closer to giant pandas and Sichuan, and to enhance a deeper and broader cooperation between Sichuan and other countries.
Fourteen international ambassadors for the promotion of giant panda culture were named at the event. They include Korn Dabbaransi, Austria's ambassador to China Friedrich Stift, Panama's Ambassador to China Francisco Carlo Escobar Pedreschi, Indonesian ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun, famous writer A Lai, popular singer Chris Lee (Li Yuchun) and other giant panda experts, entrepreneurs and celebrities.
Seen as national treasure, giant pandas embody profound cultural connotations, symbolize world peace and friendship and belong to flagship species for biodiversity conservation. Protection of giant pandas has always been the hot topic for general concern.
Yang Chao, director of the wildlife protection department of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said at the event that the administration had formulated the draft for the Giant Panda National Park which was expected to be inaugurated within a short period of time.
Although a total of 67 nature reserves have been set up, yet those reserves and other giant panda habitats are not completely connected. The Giant Panda National Park is aimed to solve the problem of fragmentation and preserve the habitats as a whole in a systematic way, Yang explained.
A wide variety of activities are also being held during the First China Giant Panda International Culture Week, including photography exhibitions, movie screenings and book events.
Nearly 90-year-old Hu Jinchu, honored as giant panda "godfather" and the world's famous expert on giant pandas, shared the beautiful stories between him and pandas at a book event.
Hu joined a team in 1974 to conduct China's first-ever field survey on giant pandas in Wolong, Sichuan.
In 1981, the Chinese government and World Wildlife Fund jointly initiated a giant panda research program where Hu and field biologist George B. Schaller conducted scientific work together.
In 1985, after five-year hard work, Hu and Schaller published the world's first book fully exploring habitats and habits of giant pandas, "Wolong's Giant Panda", in both Chinese and English.
Hu had kept writing afterwards, publishing many books including "Research on the Giant Panda" and "Trailing the Giant Panda".
In 2016, at the age of 87, Hu published "The Legend of Giant Pandas" which presents the results of his decades-long scientific work. Why is the book called "legend"? Giant pandas are legendary, for example, giant pandas have gone through 8-million-year evolution and ancestors of giant pandas ate meat, not bamboo, Hu said.