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Wildlife documentary from the series 'Animal Planet' following the staff and animals at the Wolong Panda Reserve in China. With Pandas a regular feature on the endangered species list, the success rate of this pioneering breeding centre, 16 cubs in one year, is remarkable. With the centre now opening its doors to the outside world for the first time, the viewer has the opportunity to meet the dedicated staff and to see the cubs as they grow and play alongside their parents.
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I've never agreed to this Project because I've always seen Wolong as a Prison and a Panda Factory and I have my reasons for that! But once I had questions, last Year I've bought this DVD trying to find the answers...
Wolong Conservation and Research Center, existed since 1958 on the purpose of "...save the declining of Panda population...". Nowadays it was the best known and the largest Panda Reserve of China officially founded in 1980 with assistance of World Wildlife Fund.
In 1983, Bamboo flourished and died, and a great number of Pandas perished of starvation. Wolong saved some of them, brought them to the Park but in the Wild the population suffered a severe decreasing.
Bamboo is a weak nutrient and these Centers provide extra feeding supply as special cookies, and medical attention certainly the best for the successful living and breeding in captivity.
If twins are born in the Wild, a Mother selects the stronger and the weaker dies. It's a natural selection because a Wild Panda Mother has great difficulty in raising more than one cub. In Wolong, the second cub is raised by hand in the nursery and usually thrives.
The success of captive breeding Program was recent, and showed the first positive results in 2006 when 18 cubs were born and the numbers finally began to increase. Though, according to specialists, the Reserves had to achieve the goal of 300 captive Animals in way to stabilize the numbers. Though this stability, also depends on the stabilization of Bamboo's Cycle and the stop of deforestation in China.
And my Question is simple:
Is this a reliable Project? If Panda's population has increased to an estimated number of 3000 Individuals in the Wild, why to raise more Bears in captivity when the over 50 Reserves are full ( 90 resident Bears ) and the attempts to their release in the Wild may continue to be a failure?
What is the Destiny of these Animals? Reserves and Zoos?
At the time this Film was made, Wolong was complete, had no facilities to support more breeding, and even the Center Director was skeptical about releasing the captive Animals, because the Forest was over populated and there was no space for more Pandas without the inevitable collisions!
And as it's well known, Animals created in captivity with Humans don't have the necessary skills to survive in the Wild!
To complicate things, Wolong was completely destroyed after the terrible China's earthquake of 2008 and has been closed.
So my questions remain to be answered and my doubts are still the same, because this Doc gives no answers!
In spite of it, this is a 4 Star Work. My 3 Star is the result of my skepticism...
To be more precise, I can only see in this Project a considerable number of inconsistencies that prevent me to believe in its success. We must respect Nature, and in this case, Pandas, are not exactly Toys we can play with...
Anyway, this is a must see...
If you love these Magificent Animals and want to enjoy them, you are in the right Documentary because in the Wild it's almost impossible to see them and this Fine Camera brings them to you!
A Three DVD pack with 5 Episodes. Only subtitles in English when Chinese speak, but a very good Narrator, Camera and Picture.
Tends to cover the same ground a little on some episodes but overall if you or the kids love Panda's - GET IT!!!!
I found a lot of repartition at the beginning of each episode and also some aspects of the program were also repeated. This was a minor irritation and did not spoil the enjoyment too much.
The best disk by far I thought was the first, it seemed to cover most of what the research centre were doing to preserve the panda.
This dvd can equally be enjoyed adults and children alike.
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