Ground Report | New Delhi: Pandas reproduce less when things get too good; Although habitats are necessary for the survival of giant pandas, these animals have a greater tendency to reproduce if resources are not abundant. And even when it does, a real rarity, it does not always have the success hoped for by many of its admirers. But now there is another element that seems to play against their desire to indulge in couple pleasures: the “Goldilocks” effect.
Pandas reproduce less when things get too good
- Animals that live in a “too perfect” habitat, being too happy, have little interest in breeding.
- According to a study, a wonderful habitat is not always ideal for breeding giant pandas.
- The desire of pandas to reproduce would be conditioned by the so-called “Goldilocks” effect.
- Thus, one of the concerns of scientists regarding pandas is, precisely, the fragmentation of the habitat — which can make them isolated, without enough food or unable to reproduce, writes the British newspaper The Guardian.
However, according to a new study published Sept. 20 in the journal Conservation Biology — which was based on computer models and genetic analysis of panda feces from the Wolong Nature Reserve in China, some habitats may be more beneficial to the species mating if they are imperfect.
The article suggests that the functional connectivity — or gene flow of animals — is increasing as the proportion of bamboo habitats increases in a given location. But there is also a rapid decline in the success of individuals and their reproduction when this proportion exceeds 80%. Researchers suggest that this may be because the abundance of resources makes pandas less likely to propagate.
Proportion of habitats increased
However, the team of North American scientists found a different trend for panda genetic diversity: it decreased slightly as the proportion of habitats increased, but rose from 25%. So, although a large amount of habitable areas is needed to help conserve the species, a less perfect environment could bring more benefits because pandas would feel a greater need to breed.
- “The finding that the optimal amount of habitat for functional connectivity is below 100% provides hope for already disturbed areas of panda habitat and suggests that such areas should not be discounted into management plans as being inappropriate,” writes the team.
- This is because they believe that having too many resources could mean that pandas will stay where they are and will not need to go to pasture for food, drink and mate.
- They also noted that the genetic diversity of pandas fell slightly as the proportion of habitats increased (inversely correlated) yet genetic diversity increased after about 25 percent as the proportion increased further (directly correlated).
- As a result, the study indicates a need for large amounts of habitat for great pandas in the wild, but that an environment that is not necessarily good for their survival may actually be beneficial.
- “The finding that the optimal habitat amount for functional connectivity is less than 100% provides hope for already troubled areas of panda habitat and suggests that such areas should be considered as unsuitable in management plans.”
The reason should not be discounted.” “Additionally, by targeting a ‘patchier’ scenario as a target, plans to add isolated panda subpopulations may be more realistic and feasible than previously thought.”