I agree with you, Lisa , it does seem that we would keeping the pandas around for our own entertainment.
This all has come to discussion, because of the events which have unfolded since the 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Sichuan Province , in May of this year, which destroyed the facility built in 1980.
While China was having success at finally breeding in captivity,having 142 pandas born in captivity, the country had been making great strides to protect the animal and it's natural environment. Including plans to build a 230 million dollar facility to replace the SW Sichuan Province facility which was destroyed in this years 8.0 magnitude earthquake. However,the earthquake in that region has put serious doubt on these efforts .
The earthquake which not only killed over 80,000 people, destroyed hundreds of acres of habitat and lowered panda numbers from the thousands to hundreds, was nothing that we could have stopped.
This has done a few things,it destroyed the much of the food source to begin with, it has cut pandas off from the food sources that survived , and isolating groups of the animals, which could lead to disease and in-breeding, placing the animals on a downward spiral to extinction. Scientists are now asking questions about IF they can save the animals in time, not how or why they should.
So using the panda's situation, I was wondering how people felt. Is there just a " time" when a species should be allowed to become extinct? Could there be a more cosmic reason for their extinction? And when do we decide that enough is enough?
thank you for your interest