CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 1999
Pandas. (Champions of the Wild: Part 6).
Chris Aikenhead (Director). Christian Bruyere and Ian Herring (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: Omni Film and the National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
25 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 102.
Grades 4 - 9 / Ages 9 - 14.
Review by Betsy Fraser.
**** / 4
Conservation of any species no longer solely involves work in the wild. It involves work with people who are working in the areas where that species lives and in many cases it involves working with captive animals because there are many questions we need answers to conserve wild species that can only be answered by studying animals that are in captivity.
It is hard to say who is the champion in this video. The panda is a world symbol of endangered wildlife, with only 1000 animals left in the wild. Sue Mainka is a Canadian veterinarian who has been working since 1987 to preserve and protect the species. Dr. Mainka was introduced to pandas in 1987 as she prepared to look after the pandas sent to Calgary for the 1988 Olympics. She was invited to return to China where she has been working ever since at the Wolong Reserve. In the eight years before Dr. Mainka arrived at Wolong, there had been only one birth. In the three years following her arrival, there were eight births. She believes that it is her job to make herself redundant by teaching the Chinese scientists all she knows. Dr. Mainka says that the "Chinese people do not understand why wild animals want to be wild" and this film is a good illustration of cultural differences toward endangered animals. Pandas are under threats from several areas, including poaching, destruction of their habitat, hunting, and overgrazing of the remaining habitat. Dr. Mainka believes that currently the "panda's survival is too close to call." This video would be an excellent starting point for a discussion of cultural attitudes toward animals, endangered animals, conservation and research.
Dr. Sue Mainka
Betsy Fraser is a librarian with Calgary Public Library.
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