Should we save the panda?
Giant pandas are charismatic, unique and endangered. Scientists, however, are divided over whether the money currently spent on their conservation is justified. You can cast your vote to the righthand side of this page.
If you missed the debate you can
Listen to the debate podcast
Read the storify of tweets from the event
Read the write-up on BBC Nature
Giant pandas are the rarest member of the bear family, and live mainly in the mountains of western China. It is very likely that fewer than 2,500 pandas remain in the wild, and some estimates suggest as few as 1,000. The number has been declining, but it is hoped that conservation programmes are now making a difference.
The debate over whether our current attitude to the panda is misguided involves answering questions such as:
Has the panda attracted more conservation funding than its conservation has cost?
Have the improvements to its native bamboo forests been of sufficient benefit to other species to justify the resources spent on pandas?
Is the panda such a valuable species that we should do whatever it takes to save it?
Do our conservation efforts focus on large, charismatic species at the expense of many others which may be easier to save?