The Way of the Panda
After the giant panda became known in the west there was considerable interest in such a novel animal. At first, of course, hunters wanted to shoot one and display the skin, but we hear about how attitudes gradually changed, as zoos saw the great benefits of having live animals. In particular the popularity of baby pandas meant that there were frequent attempts to breed pandas in captivity, with little success at first, but more recently sufficiently well to maintain a sustainable captive population. There are still problems ahead though - the difficulty of finding pandas in the wild makes it hard to know how many are left. One panda which was reintroduced into the wild was found dead a few days later - not encouraging.
There's the question of whether the giant panda should be classified a bear - something which has generated a lot of arguments. Nicholls also tells of the politics of pandas - the Chinese government soon realised the diplomatic potential of giving pandas to foreign zoos. In conclusion, it's an informative book about a unique animal, and I would recommend it to as an entertaining read for anyone.