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Pandas, Chinese environmental awareness and the Singapore conservation story

I took a trip recently to Chengdu and northern Sichuan (more on that some other time), but one highlight was, of course, the pandas.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, China, is a pretty odd place: part research centre, yes, but also in part a farm. Its panda-husbandry and artificial-insemination techniques are finely honed, and it churns out baby pandas each year, destined for top Chinese zoos or those overseas.

There’s very little that’s cuter than a baby panda.

But the fact that it’s more zoo than farm, and that these pandas will likely never be released into the wild because there isn’t any wild for them to be released into, makes me think: China will not succeed at conserving the environment until it understands what conserving the environment is.

But there’s something that gives one reason to hope.

Singapore, arguably, is in the process of coming to grips with what conservation is. What environmental protection is.