What she said about the breeding center unfolds a larger story about a multi-million dollar industry that dupes international animal welfare organizations and the media into thinking the giant panda is a conservation success story and obscures how many pandas there really are in the wild. In other words, the real story is anything but cute.
The breeder pandas
A few weeks before the cubs at the center are born, the mother panda is moved into a cement cell with bars on three sides, Dr. Loeffler observed when she worked at Chengdu.
"They are intensely private animals, and assiduously avoid humans when they have the choice to do so," Loeffler said. "Here, they sit in a bare cell, lights on and people about 24/7, with the shouting and cigarette smoke and smells and clanging metal gates, and nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide."