Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Benitez-Capistros, Francisco Hugé, Jean Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid and Koedam, Nico 2016. Exploring conservation discourses in the Galapagos Islands: A case study of the Galapagos giant tortoises. Ambio,

    Jepson, Paul and Barua, Maan 2015. A Theory of Flagship Species Action. Conservation and Society, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 95.


ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: Diplomats and Refugees: Panda Diplomacy, Soft “Cuddly” Power, and the New Trajectory in Panda Conservation

  • Kathleen Carmel Buckingham (a1), Jonathan Neil William David (a1) and Paul Jepson (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 07 August 2013

China's practice of gifting and loaning giant pandas has been given new impetus as a result of damage to panda-conservation facilities caused by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and China's rise as an economic power. We suggest that a new, third phase of panda diplomacy is under way that is distinct from the previous two. Phase 1 during the Mao era (in the 1960s and 1970s) took the form of China gifting pandas to build strategic friendships. Phase 2 followed Deng Xiaoping's rise to power in 1978 when gifts became gift loans involving a capitalist lease model based on financial transactions. In the emerging phase 3, panda loans are associated with nations supplying China with valuable resources and technology and symbolize China's willingness to build guanxi—namely, deep trade relationships characterized by trust, reciprocity, loyalty, and longevity. Notable is the correlation of guanxi loan deals with nations supplying resources and technologies to China in the aftermath of the 2008 earthquake in panda habitat. As captive breeding resumes with the completion of repairs to the earthquake-damaged Wolong Breeding center, we predict that panda diplomacy will increase and that panda conservation, more than ever, will be the outcome of a complex, dynamic interplay among politics, markets, and conservation science.

Environmental Practice 15:262–270 (2013)

Corresponding author
Kathleen Carmel Buckingham, University of Oxford, School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, United Kingdom; (e-mail)
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

T. Gold , D. Guthrie, and D. Wank, eds. 2002. Social Connections in China: Institutions, Culture, and the Changing Nature of Guanxi. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 275 pp.

C.J. Loucks , Z. , E. Dinerstein, H. Wang, D.M. Olson, C.Q. Zhu, and D.J. Wang. 2001. Giant Pandas in a Changing Landscape. Science 294(5546):1465.

S. O'Brien , P. Wenshi, and L. Zhi. 1994. Pandas, People and Policy [Commentary]. Nature 369:179180.

J. Peng , Z. Jiang, G. Qin, Q. Huang, Y. Li, Z. Jiao, F. Zhang, Z. Li, J. Zhang, Y. Lu, X. Liu, and J. Liu. 2007. Impact of Activity Space on the Reproductive Behaviour of Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) in Captivity. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 104(1-2):151161.

Y.W. Sung 1991. The China Hong Kong Connection: The Key to China's Open-Door Policy. Trade and Development. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 183 pp.

R.R. Swaisgood , F. Wei, W.J. McShea, D.E. Wildt, A.J. Kouba, and Z. Zhang. 2011. Can Science Save the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)? Unifying Science and Policy in an Adaptive Management Paradigm. Integrative Zoology 6(3):290296.

W. Xu , Z. Ouyang, A. Vina, H. Zheng, J. Liu, and Y. Xiao. 2006. Designing a Conservation Plan for Protecting the Habitat for Giant Pandas in the Qionglai Mountain Range, China. Diversity and Distributions 12(5):610619.

W. Zheng , Y. Xu, L. Liao, X. Yang, X. Gu, T. Shang, and J. Ran 2012. Effect of the Wenchuan Earthquake on Habitat Use Patterns of the Giant Panda in the Minshan Mountains, Southwestern China. Biological Conservation, 145 (1): 241246

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Practice
  • ISSN: 1466-0466
  • EISSN: 1466-0474
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-practice
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *