WATCH: Should We Let Pandas Go Extinct?

7 MAY 2015

Right now, there are a whole lot of species around the world that are dangerously close to going the way of the dodo, and the really depressing fact is that we just cannot save them all, no matter how hard we try. It's not about giving up, it's about being realistic about the resources we have, and like military medics, emergency first-responders, and ER workers, we need to start treating the plight of the animals around our planet a whole lot more strategically, says the latest episode of MinuteEarth.


Basically, we need to decide which species to save first, so we can focus our conservation efforts more effectively. One way of doing this is focussing on the species that are teetering closest to the brink of extinction, such as the Javan rhino, the global population of which is now estimated at around 60 individuals. Or, we could put all our efforts into rescuing the species that would have the greatest impact on the surrounding ecosystem if they disappeared. For example, mangroves sustain the lives of thousands of species, and otters are actually protecting the world's kelp forests by chowing down on sea urchins.

Or we could take the most economical approach, says Henry in the video above, and just save the species that would cost the least and have the best chance of future survival. 

But coordinating global conservation efforts according to one of the above strategies is no small feat, which means we see pandas, which aren't as vital to their ecosystems as other species, haven't dwindled to numbers as low as other species, and have proven SUPER expensive to sustain, taking up resources that could perhaps be better spent elsewhere.

So should we cut off pandas altogether then and focus on something less cute and fluffy, but more practical? Not so fast, says MinuteEarth, because the fact that pandas tug on our heartstrings could be the reason why saving them is worth all the cost after all. Watch the video above to find out why.