Let pandas go extinct!. There are only about 1 500 pandas left in the wild. Around 150 live in zoos and breeding centres, mostly in China. It costs £1.5 million each year to keep a panda in a captivity. We could protect lots more species with that money.
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There are only about 1 500 pandas left in the wild.
Around 150 live in zoos and breeding centres, mostly in China.
It costs £1.5 million each year to keep a panda in a captivity. We could protect lots more species with that money.
We raise lots of money from people who want to protect them. We must save these rarest of bears.
What do you think?
Save them or let them die?
Prunella, anti-panda campaigner
Brian, head of SOP (Save our Pandas)
Lifespan: up to 35 years.
Weight: males, up to 250 pounds.
Females, up to 220 pounds.
Drink: lots of water.
Food: 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo per day
99% of their diet is bamboo.
Birth weight: three to five ounces –
1/900th the size of its mother.
Height: two to three feet tall.
Length: four to six feet.
Reproduction: one cub every two years. Five to eight cubs in a lifetime.
Lifestyle: 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating, the rest of the time sleeping and resting.
The arguments against pandas
Pandas can adapt to where they are set free.
We should be buying land for them to live in, not spending all that money rearing them in captivity.
They might look cute and cuddly but they’re not very bright and don’t reproduce very often.
Giant pandas have been dying out because of the destruction of their natural habitat.
They are the rarest breed of bear and we should save them.
You shouldn’t breed animals just to keep them in captivity.
They face extinction because of poachers and humans moving into their habitats. It’s that we should stop.
Breeding pandas in captivity for release later is pointless. There is nowhere for them to go.
They can live in the mountains of China where there is plenty of bamboo.
Millions of pounds are spent each year preserving them. That money could be better used elsewhere.
Towards the end of September 2009, two wildlife specialists spoke about pandas. One felt it was time to let that species of bear die out, and the other felt they needed continued protection. This Up2d8 explores both arguments and encourages the children to discuss their opinions. The ideas on the spreads focus on number and calculation skills that can be adapted for all ages.
You might find it helpful to explore the following websites:
Wild Life Extra
Family Homes Network
● Together read the numbers of pandas in the wild and in captivity. What is the difference between the two? Can they imagine how many 1 500 and 150 are? Explore the place value of both numbers, including the importance of zero as the place holder – without them the numbers would be the same: 15.
● Discuss what is meant by ‘in the wild’ and ‘breeding centres’. Which do they think is the best place for pandas and why? Encourage the children to give positive and negative views, eg. in the wild they might be hunted and in breeding centres they are protected, in the wild they are free to roam anywhere, and in breeding centres they are held in captivity and their movement is restricted.
● Lead a discussion on the views of the two people. How much is £1.5 million, is it a lot of money? Is it right to spend that much keeping an endangered species alive? What other ways could the money be spent that might be more useful?
● Do they think it matters that a lot of people donate money specifically for pandas?
● After some discussion, take a vote of their opinions: save the panda or let it die and display the results in a Carroll diagram or table.
● If someone earns £30 000 a year, how long would it take them to earn £1.5 million? Where do the children hear of that amount of money being won – in the lottery, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’
● You could set a task for the children to try to spend that amount of money.
● Discuss what is meant by ‘the rarest bear’ and endangered species. Ask them to think of other animals that are endangered and whether anything is being done to save them.
You might find the WWF website useful.
● Also consider those animals that are now extinct, eg. the dodo. Is the world a worse/better place without it? Will people forget about the panda in time if it is left to become extinct?
● You could look at the third spread for further discussion points: arguments for and against the panda. Discuss each point, which do the children agree with?
● You could ask them to work with a partner and a large piece of paper and draw the outline of a panda within these dimensions.
● Look at the weight of the male panda: up to 250lbs. Discuss the units of measure and their equivalences including imperial to metric if appropriate and measuring equipment. Give them a calculator and ask them to convert 250lb into kilograms: 0.45 x 250 = 112.5kg. Can they imagine how heavy that is? You could compare this to 112 kilogram bags of sugar or similar. Encourage them to work in small groups to weigh out fractions of this amount in books or something similar. How many will they need to weigh 112.5kg? Gather these together.
● Repeat this for the weight of a female panda. Compare the weights of both.
● You could ask word problems, eg. if I had 20 books each weighing 5kg, would that be equivalent to the weight of a male panda? How do you know?
● Discuss the number of cubs a panda will have. For younger children put the numbers on a table and ask them to match these with the correct number of bears, from a collection of toy bears or similar.
● What if the female panda could reproduce for 20 years, how many cubs could she potentially give birth to?
● Base the weight of a cub on 3 ounces and convert to grams using this conversion:1oz = 28g. Repeat for other amounts. This could be a good opportunity to work on the grid method for multiplication or partitioning.
● Share this information about the cubs: they do not open their eyes until they are six to eight weeks of age and are not mobile until three months. The cub is pink, hairless, and blind. You could give the children pages of a calendar and ask them to work out when the cub will open its eyes and also start to move from dates you give them.
● If the cub is1/900th the size of the mother you could ask them how they could show this visually, eg. colour one square of a 30 by 30 grid on squared paper.
● Discuss the food a panda eats. How much is 99%? Work through percentages of different numbers, basing calculations on 10% and doubling / halving / x10 / ÷10 / addition / subtraction. Ask them to use what they find to make 99% of the different numbers, eg. 10% and 1%, then multiply each by 9 for 90% and 9% and finally add them.
● Convert 20 to 40 pounds into kg (0.45 x 20lb/40lb). Ask them to estimate and weigh different amounts within these parameters. Inform the children that the rest of the panda’s diet is made up of such things as small rodents and fish.
● Tell the children that much of the water the panda eats comes from bamboo. New bamboo shoots are about 90% water. They also get water from rivers and streams. The forests of central China where giant pandas live receive about 30 to 40 inches of rain and snow a year. Discuss capacity – vocabulary, units, measuring equipment. Ask them to estimate and measure the equivalent to 30, 32, 35 inches etc.
● Use the information that the panda spends 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating. Give starting times and ask them when they might stop eating.
● Repeat this for the sleeping time, firstly asking questions such as if they spend 14 hours a day foraging and eating, for how long do they sleep?
● Make up birth dates for pandas and ask the children to work out when they will die naturally (after 35 years).
● Use the sand area to create a panda reserve.