Pandas Abroad in the Early Years
Date: 2017-03-15

  It is normal that giant pandas go abroad as diplomats to promote communication between nations or to develop science. However, here stories will be introduced about pandas being smuggled out of China, and when they were discoveredin. 


  Many panda fans know that the French priest David was the first foreigner to identify giant pandas. In 1869, he saw a black-and-white fur in a farmer’s home in Muping,Sichuan, which he then bought and sent to Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle inParis,French. The curator at that time identified this giant panda as a new species and named it. This was the first time that one panda was smuggled in recorded history. The fur of that panda is still treasured in the museum.








  The top the international pedigree of the panda---Su Lin was the first living panda that was smuggled out of China in modern times. Zoologist and explorer William Harkness’s wife Ruth Harkness declared Su Lin as a Pekingese at the Customs, and they boarded the ship back to the USA with Su Lin in a bamboo basket. Su Lin caused a great sensation as soon as it was showcased at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago in 1937. However, Su Lin died from disease when it was less than two years old in the zoo in 1938.


  The death of Su Lin did not break the fever. Just five years from 1936 to 1941, Americans smuggled nine pandas out of China. According to statistics, more than 200 people went to panda habitats to capture pandas from 1869 to 1946. Only from 1936 to 1946, 16 living pandas were smuggled out of China and at least 70 panda samples were exhibited in overseas museums. Little pandas that survived long-distance transport soon afterwards died at their destination because they were not taking good care of. After all, people at that time lacked of understanding of giant pandas .


  Humans loved pandas but brought death to them when pandas were identified. Throughout the ages people have learned more about pandas, we realize the importance of harmony between humans and nature. To protect the environment is to protect ourselves. It was a sad history of the early pandas that went abroad. A new era is coming, and we hope that humans and nature can coexist harmoniously.


Reference: Guard Pandas Shanghai Story Culture Media LLC
Shanghai Jinxiu Article Press China Wildlife Conservation Association
Editor in Chief Luo Xiao yun



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