Chris Packham - ‘pandas should be left to die out’

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Wildlife TV presenter Chris Packham has said pandas should be left to die out.

He made the controversial comment as panda mating season approaches and staff at Edinburgh Zoo prepare for another breeding attempt with giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang.

The Springwatch presenter said that although he loved “every last species”, pandas “attract a disproportionate amount of interest and money”.

He said of Chinese conservation efforts: “Once a year, they bring out a wheelbarrow full of baby pandas in nappies, but these are little more than tourist trinkets. Not a single panda bred in captivity has been successfully released into the wild.”

Mr Packham said he hoped that Edinburgh’s pandas – the most expensive animal to keep in captivity – did breed, but added: “Can we afford to conserve pandas – and is it worth it? I think perhaps it is time to stop wasting money.”