I was just catching up with my mammalwatching blogging and started to answer a question on why the Panda viewing had been close down on a pretty long and old thread, but thought this might be of interest to the larger community now so I decided to start a new thread….
So, why have the Panda trips stopped?
In a word, Weibo! The Chinese version of Twitter, with just a hell of a lot more followers….obviously.
Basically there were pictures of several foreignors’ expeditions to the region showing close up and intrusive viewing of the Pandas in the Qinlings. BAsically people like myself published the expedition trip reports on their blogs and then the Weibo community found the reports and started going crazy with anti-foreignor rhetoric – “the foreignors are ecoterrorizing our pandas….” They pointed out that rich foreignors were ecoterrorizing their national treasure and that viewing pandas was in fact illegal and the entire venture should have never been allowed in the first place.
It was pretty shocking to have one of my contacts in China send me a Weibo link a couple years back stating, “Coke, you are famous!” and then seeing my blog cut and pasted all over the Chinese internet ….
Here are the links:
.And seeing several others from this website and others being used as evidence. There was one trip by a Bear Ecotour Operation out of Canada that evidently spent a lot of time with a new born panda in a cave that really pissed people off there. The central government got wind of all of this and shut down the entire operation. For good. I can honestly say I had no idea that my amazing expedition to the region would be used to support closing it down….Truly sad, and actually a bit humiliating. Overly ambitious trackers were the official reason, but I think some heads rolled for sure. As a result many of the nature reserves were shut tight to foreingers – some have since opened up and some are still shut. Very sad in deed.