The Legacy of Extinction Risk Lessons From Giant Pandas And Other Threatened Carnivores

John L. Gittleman and Andrea J. Webster

in Giant Pandas

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238671
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930162 | DOI:
The Legacy of Extinction Risk Lessons From Giant Pandas And Other Threatened Carnivores

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This chapter concentrates the life-history patterns to show which traits of giant pandas (e.g., birth weight, growth rate) are significantly different from reproductive rates in related terrestrial carnivores. It also addresses how phylogenies or evolutionary trees can lend insight into what biological characteristics contribute to extinction risk. Characteristics that are indicative of population decline and small geographic ranges (rarity) are most salient. A phylogenetic analysis combined with a database of biological traits associated with extinction risk can be used in a predictive manner for explaining why some species are at risk and why some are not. Using phylogenies to examine the comparative biology of threatened species such as the giant panda will not only help this magnificent species but also leave a legacy to protect many other similar species. Furthermore, a panel reports updates criteria used in the consideration of previous reintroduction proposals.

Keywords: giant pandas; birth weight; growth rate; life history; phylogenetic analysis; evolutionary trees; extinction risk; comparative biology

Chapter.  4865 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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