熊貓未走入演化盡頭 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

熊貓未走入演化盡頭

2007年08月29日
摘譯自2007年8月24日ENS威爾斯,卡地夫報導;吳紀政編譯;蔡麗伶審校

中國野生熊貓;圖片來源:四川中國國際旅遊服務卡地夫(Cardiff)大學科學家的一篇新論文,表示大熊貓將不會陷入滅絕。新研究發現大熊貓並非在「演化的盡頭」,而是可能有長期可行的未來。

世界上最有魅力的物種之一大熊貓,在動物園和荒野中吸引民眾強烈的興趣。目前估計約有1600隻熊貓存活在荒野中。

但是先前的研究發現,大熊貓離群索居、其特殊的飲食需求和緩慢的繁殖速度,已經導致缺乏基因多樣性,將使這個物種不可避免地滅絕。

目前一項研究發現,物種減少最直接的原因可能是人類的活動,而不是基因不能適應和演化。

「我們的研究挑戰了大熊貓到達演化盡頭的假說,布魯佛教授(Michael Bruford)說。「然而很清楚的是,這個物種的數量遭受人類活動如濫伐和盜獵的殘害。」

大熊貓棲息在中國西南,是所有熊類中分佈區域最有限的。牠們的棲息地在1200和3500公尺的海拔間多山地區,而且局限於竹子灌木叢裡。熊貓的食物99%由30種竹子組成

牠們的毛皮、肉和身體部分曾經遭到獵取,大熊貓被列入世界自然保護聯盟(IUCN)瀕危物種紅色名錄,並且是華盛頓公約(CITES)附錄上的瀕危物種。

「我們的研究建議必須修正我們對大熊貓演化的思維,」布魯佛教授表示。「這個物種有一個可行的將來,且具有適應新環境的遺傳能力。」

保育工作應該致力於棲地恢復和保護,布魯佛建議:「在牠們的自然環境裡,大熊貓是能有一個光明未來的物種。」

Giant Panda Not Doomed to Extinction
CARDIFF, Wales, August 24, 2007 (ENS)

Hope that the giant panda will not slide into extinction has been revived by a new study issued today by scientists from Cardiff University. The giant panda is not at an "evolutionary dead end" and could have a long term viable future, the new study finds

One of the world's great charismatic species, giant pandas attract intense interest from the public in zoos and in the wild. An estimated 1,600 pandas remain in the wild.

But previous studies have found that the giant panda's isolation, unusual dietary requirements and slow reproductive rates have led to a lack of genetic diversity that will inevitably lead the species to extinction.

Now a study has found that the decline of the species can be linked directly to human activities rather than a genetic inability to adapt and evolve.

"Our research challenges the hypothesis that giant pandas are at an evolutionary dead end," said Professor Bruford. "It is however clear that the species has suffered demographically at the hands of human activities such as deforestation and poaching."

Giant pandas live in southwestern China and have the most restricted distribution of all bears. Their habitat is limited to bamboo thickets in mountainous regions between altitudes of 1,200 and 3,500 meters. Ninety-nine percent of a panda's diet is made up of 30 species of bamboo.

Once hunted for their fur, meat and body parts, giant pandas are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List and are listed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, on Appendix I

"Our research suggests we have to revise our thinking about the evolutionary prospects for the giant panda," said Professor Bruford. "The species has a viable future and possesses the genetic capacity to adapt to new circumstances."

Conservation efforts should be directed towards habitat restoration and protection, Bruford advises, saying, "In their natural environment, the giant panda is a species that can have a bright future."

全文及圖片詳見:ENS