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Henry Nicholls

The Way of the Panda

The giant panda is an iconic animal, but a century and a half ago it was barely known - bordering on a mythical creature. In The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal Henry Nicholls tells its story.

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.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 1846683688
Salesrank: 6564022
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2010 Profile Books
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 1846683688
Salesrank: 776392
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: 2010 Profile Books
Marketplace::Used from £0.01
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Hardcover
ISBN: 1846683688
Salesrank: 3208499
Weight:1.2 lbs
Published: Profile Books Ltd
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Product Description

Learn how the extraordinary impact of the panda—from obscurity to fame—is also the story of China's transition from shy beginnings to center stage.

Giant pandas have been causing a stir ever since their formal scientific discovery just over 140 years ago. For almost a century they defied classification; they outwitted hunters and escaped trappers, left the public elbowing and zoo turnstiles spinning, were sent on diplomatic journeys, branded onto products and turned into company logos. Thanks to the World Wide Fund for Nature this species became the face of global conservation. Yet in spite of humankind’s evident obsession with the giant panda, it is only in the last few decades that scientific research has begun to show us what this mysterious, frequently misunderstood creature is really like.

Henry Nicholls uses the rich and curious history of the giant panda to do several things: to ponder our changing attitudes towards the natural world; to offer a compelling history of the conservation movement; and to chart the rise of modern China on its journey to become the self-sufficient, twenty-first-century superpower it is today. 16 pages of full-color photographs