Essay About Giant Panda Keeper Nichole MacCorkle


Nichole MacCorkle, a Giant Panda keeper from the National Zoo, loved pandas since she was little and has wanted to work with pandas ever since she was young. MacCorkle has taken care of so many Giant Pandas, has seen them grow up, and has gotten close with them. One panda that she cared for since its birth is the Giant Panda, Bao Bao. Bao Bao is three years old now and will be moving to China permanently, but she is very concerned that Bao Bao will be released into the wild. Many Giant Pandas that have been moved to China, from MacCorkle's zoo and many other zoos, have died. Or have been forced to move homes because their homes have been destroyed. MacCorkle has studied many Giant Pandas, including Bao Bao that have been captured and sent to breeding camps or zoos to prevent the extinction of Giant Pandas. Bao Bao and many other pandas survive on many bamboos and spend half a day eating to consume the right number of nutrients. MacCorkle has experienced this from working as a Giant Panda caretaker who gives Bao Bao and other pandas bamboo, occasionally giving them fruits. Giant Pandas are facing many dangers and the problems are affecting them a lot. The biggest problem with Giant Pandas is habitat loss because Giant Pandas have been an endangered species for a long time, which can lead to the extinction of an economically and culturally valuable species.

Habitat loss has affected many Giant Pandas for many years already. Giant Pandas have been endangered since 1990 and they recently have been moved from endangered species to vulnerable species. Many researchers have considered moving Giant Pandas back to endangered animals because they were moved too vulnerable too soon and still face great danger. “The giant panda is a global symbol of wildlife conservation that is threatened by historic and current habitat loss” (Zhang, 6). Many factors led to the endangerment of Giant Pandas like climate change, being hunted, diseases, and many more dangers. I believe habitat loss is more important than all of those factors because much more Giant Pandas are dying by habitat loss. This issue is essential because Giant Pandas affect and impacts the environment greatly. One example of how they impact the environment is that “Giant pandas help to keep their mountain forests healthy by spreading seeds in their droppings, which helps vegetation to thrive” (Giant Pandas: Living Proof That Conservation Works). Giant Pandas are losing their homes and the Giant Panda population has been decreasing over the years. A picture that I found online shows a Giant Panda being stuck in a ditch because of the many landslides happening in the surrounding area. Giant Pandas live on mountains because that's where they can stay out of danger most of the time. Many landslides occur most in mountains and valleys and because of sudden movement in the area. The Giant Panda was caught in the landslide because of people destroying their homes. (Pandas' habitat ravaged by landslides).

Giant Pandas only live in China, so many tourists come to China every year (except this year because of Covid-19) to see the national symbol of China, pandas. China is a very wealthy country, but Giant Pandas make them even more money because they get money to build resources for Pandas to keep them safe and make money from all of the tourists who come to see the Giant Pandas. Giant Pandas are decreasing, and China is not making as much money as it used to when the Giant Pandas were unseparated by their families and homes. “Economic benefits derived from these critical basins include tourism, subsistence fisheries, and agriculture, transport, hydropower and water resources” (Why we save the Giant Panda?). If some changes are not soon all of the Giant Pandas, the habitats, which include bamboo forest, rivers, and many more will all be gone and so will be the main food source for Giant Pandas. If there is no more bamboo, the Giant Pandas could eat other food but most of them would likely die because bamboo is their primary food source. “According to the WWF, increased bamboo production has decreased because of the decreasing amounts of Giant Pandas. If extinct, there would be no increased production not to mention that there would be little natural propagation” (Endangered Species-The Giant Panda). Without Giant Pandas there would be no more bamboo, the Chinese government would be unprofitable from Giant Panda programs and tourism. Furthermore, the ecosystem would be out of balance if changes aren't introduced more promptly.

The benefits that could happen if we initiate direct action and prevent the deforestation and destruction of the Giant Pandas homes would represent the increase of Giant Pandas. If the population of Giant Pandas increases then the amount of bamboo that is being grown every year would increase and there would be more bamboo forests. Also, as I stated in the past, Giant Pandas affect the environment so much, and the more Giant Pandas that there are, the better. If we initiate swift action and help save Giant Pandas, it will not only benefit them but also the local people who live around the Giant Pandas. “The panda’s forest environment is also important for local people – for food, income, and fuel for cooking and heating” (Giant Pandas: Living Proof That Conservation Works). So many actions can be executed to help the Giant Pandas. “Reversing the worsening habitat fragmentation and continuing to improve the amount and quality of habitat is key to sustaining the recovery of the wild giant panda population” (Kang 2015). The quality of the habitat is what will help the Giant Pandas adapt faster and go back to their ordinary lives. This will pandas continue to live safely and continue to populate. “Conservationists need to keep an eye on pressures like; infrastructure development if they want the panda population to continue to grow. They also recommend expanding nature reserve boundaries, encouraging people to move out of panda habitats and using corridors to connect isolated panda populations.” (Giant pandas have fewer habitats than 30 years ago.) I found many articles online of people who say we should stop protecting pandas because they cost a lot of money to rent and take care of. The writer of this article, Elijah Wolfson, stated “But…who cares where pandas have been? Perhaps more importantly, why are we trying so hard to keep them alive?” (“Humans Should Stop Meddling with Pandas and Let Them Die.”) Giant Pandas do cost plenty of money to watch and take care of, but everything in this world serves a purpose. Giant Pandas’ purpose in this world is to help the production of bamboo expand, for agricultural purposes, etc.

Giant Pandas are considered vulnerable species, but they are still in danger. Pandas are forced to move homes and move into breeding centers, but sometimes the Giant Pandas don’t make it. That’s why we need to help Giant Pandas and prevent people from demolishing their homes, research, and learn more about Pandas as MacCorkle did. Unluckily, MacCorkle can’t stop Bao Bao from moving to China, but she circulated many petitions and has partnered with many nonprofit organizations like “WWF'' to help Giant Pandas.

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