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The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal

My daughter absolutely loved this book. Henry lives in London.


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  3. The Way of the Panda: The Curious History of China's Political Animal by Henry Nicholls – review.

For almost a century they defied classification; they outwitted hunters and escaped trappers, left the public elbowing and zoo turnstiles spinning, were sent on diplomatic journeys, branded onto The story is indeed fascinating, and Nicholls tells it with tremendous verve.

Ian Critchley, The Sunday Times.

3 editions of this work

Fascinating…An interesting story, capably told. Thoroughly readable … sheds valuable light on a mysterious and often misunderstood creature. I recommend you read this engaging book. Am always so impressed by the open-zoo concept and the hidden 'safety enclosures'. Like you can make a moat pretty and the visitor will be none the wiser. Am extremely proud of our white tiger enclosure and the entire Mandai Zoo. This is what I want to create. A strong brand, solid in character and roots, with sterling quality and standard. No matter what I choose to embark on I want it to be something not only I can be proud of, but also for others to take pride in.

I never knew Russia had pandas. Oct 15, Cora rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book was right up my alley. I actually got a master's degree in environmental studies with my focus on the human aspects of endangered species conservation.

The Way of the Panda – Henry Nicholls

This was a great read that brought back my enthusiasm for the subject. Living in the Washington, DC area, we are often inundated with panda news, especially last summer when cubs are born. I really enjoyed learning about the history of panda conservation and science. I think Nicholls did a great job presenting the history without being This book was right up my alley.

I think Nicholls did a great job presenting the history without being dry and the science without being too technical. He manages to strike a balance between realistic expectations and optimism for the future of wild pandas. The book starts out with a history lesson for both pandas and China. It begins with early hunting exhibitions to kill a panda and collect specimens for museums and continues through the challenge of capturing live pandas and then trying to find a way to breed them in captivity.

The book ends with a look at future challenges, such as successfully releasing captive bred pandas into the wild. I learned a lot from the book. The next time I am at the National Zoo, I will have a new found respect for and interest in the work that is being done there. Adam, the panda-hating curmudgeon.

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I have a good friend who hates pandas. He thinks they are slow and stupid and not worth saving. He and I have had several conversations about this, and as he is the only one of my circle who has an opinion on pandas, it was nice to come across this book so I could see the other viewpoint. The story of the panda is absolutely fascinating. Nicholls's history starts out with their "discovery" by the Western world and moves chronologically to the present day. It was really interesting to not see how I have a good friend who hates pandas.

It was really interesting to not see how the West reacts to pandas, but how the Chinese have over the decades placed heavy nationalistic pride and political weight on the animal. The book, thankfully, ends on a optimistic note. Nicholls points out that for the first time ever, there is enough habitat, population, funding, and research to provide the foundation for reintroduction of pandas raised in captivity to the wild successfully in the near future.

China’s Giant Panda Pair Ready to Go Dutch

Mar 18, David Bales rated it really liked it Shelves: Nicholls' book traces the "discovery" of the giant panda in China in the nineteenth century by Europeans and the attempts to bring one to the west, first a carcass, then a live specimen, and then the attempts to breed them in zoos in Europe and the United States. The startling fact is that the panda was basically unknown, even in China, until the s due to its reclusive nature and mountainous habitat.

Although the public is aware of the panda's look, it remains ignorant of its habits and quir Nicholls' book traces the "discovery" of the giant panda in China in the nineteenth century by Europeans and the attempts to bring one to the west, first a carcass, then a live specimen, and then the attempts to breed them in zoos in Europe and the United States.

Although the public is aware of the panda's look, it remains ignorant of its habits and quirks, of which it has many; in other words, the giant panda is a very, very strange animal that exists in very specific microclimates and has a hard time breeding, bearing young and even eating in slightly different environments. A fascinating animal, the rock-star of zoos and the conservation movement, the wild panda is basically a mystery.

Dec 16, Margaret Sankey rated it liked it. When not recounting the political dancing, Nicholls also reveals the disastrously bad information zoologists were acting on in acquiring panda mothers regularly leave their babies for days at a time and return--those weren't abandoned and attempting to breed olfactory senses are key, they shouldn't eat much other than bamboo pandas in captivity until someone figured out that studying them in the wild might provide useful information. May 06, Ben rated it liked it. A succinct, serviceable account of the giant panda's rise to prominence in the global public eye and the animal conservation movement.


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  • I had hoped the book would explore the rise of the panda along with China's similar rise to the world stage and how China leveraged the panda to grow its political power. Unfortunately, that second story stays mostly hidden in the bamboo shoots. Oct 02, Jess Dollar rated it liked it. There were slow parts that almost caused me to put the book down but luckily I stayed with it. It got more interesting as it moved away from the history of pandas as political olive branches and talked about breeding problems in captivity.

    Jul 29, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: I need to read more of Henry Nicholls. His story of the discovery, conservation and research studies of the panda was fascinating and humorous. This book dispelled myths about pandas that I had believed. They are truly unique creatures. Apr 11, Tina rated it liked it. Interesting nonfiction book about the giant panda, how they found it, why it's in US zoos and what they are doing to make sure it's not endangered.

    Deedee rated it it was ok Mar 09, James rated it it was ok Jun 16, Kyle Bugarsky rated it did not like it Jul 26, Joshua Disneyq rated it liked it Jun 25, Thomson Yu rated it really liked it Nov 23, Marissa rated it really liked it Aug 10,