Adrian Nielsen

Photojournalist
© 2017 Adrian Nielsen

Pandaland

The Giant Panda is a superstar.

Visiting one of the panda parks is a royal visit and you are granted an audience to the king.

The panda isn’t captive. You are. For every step you take, every side street you may encounter, you are bound to spot one of its sculpted minions.

It’s everywhere. The cute, cuddly and complete national symbol is everything we need, distilled into one animal.

Once described as invincible, its survival is now dependent on the help of science. 

The Panda works in mysterious ways, and as time goes by the population is slowly growing.

Welcome to Pandaland

On one of the tops of Chengdu´s many shopping malls the giant statue by Lawrence Argent, "I AM HERE" is clinging to the wall. There is about 2500 pandas left in the world, this may be the biggest.
In 1979, China introduced the controversial one-child policy to curb its large population growth. As it was traditionally wanted to have boys, the law contributed to a large gender imbalance. The law was officially removed in 2015. A Panda can get around seven offspring throughout its lifetime. Female pandas are fertilel two to three days in a year. Something that makes it incredibly difficult to get Pandas to reproduce. The first panda born in captivity was Ming Ming in 1963.
The Panda spends around 12 hours everyday eating. Originally a carnivore, its gradually changing diet, may be a cause to its low energy leves and can be a reason the panda is struggling to survive without help from humans. Although most pandas diet is almost exclusively made up of bamboo, it also occasionally eats meat in the form of small birds, rodents and animal cadavers.
If you were to stack a tower to the moon consisting solely of average pandas, you would have needed about four hundred and seventy-seven million pandas. This is of course if the our planet stood completely still. Standing on four legs is the average panda about 90 cm tall. The problem is unfortunately that there are only around 2500 Pandas, about 300 of whom live in zoo
China loves to build. Since 1992, China has spent 9.5 percent of its revenues on infrastructure. To accommodate all the migrants, it is often built on the outskirts of the cities. In order to attract property buyers, it´s sometimes built amusement parks, such as here in Kunming. In China, there are about 67 Panda reserves, which protect 66% of the wild pandas.
The panda is incredibly difficult to count. Since the 1970s, China has made an annual count of all pandas. The problem with this is that the method has changed year by year. In the 1990s, the researchers used feces as a counting method and reached the number 1596.
The Panda Bear is sought after, but difficult to get hold of. Christmas Eve 1987: A private zoo in Tawian paints a Malaybear black and white as a panda. Experts quickly became skeptical and after an inspection in January 1988 it was revealed as fake. In recent times, 2014, an Italian circus was exposed using dogs of the breed Chow Chow painted as a panda. After a while, the breed Chow Chow has become very popular and there are animal shops offering to color and set up the dog so that it has that cute panda look.
Recent research done on human impact on the Panda in captivity has concluded that Panda has ultrasonic hearing. This research is aimed to give a deeper understanding of how Pandas communicate with each other. Therefore, there are already signs around Pandaparks where the audience is asked to keep the noise level down.