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Giant Panda Conservation Researchers from China to Speak at Drexel

Giant pandas. Photo by Zhang Zhihe.
Giant panda photos by Zhang Zhihe

PHILADELPHIA, August 16, 2012

Three leading scientists involved in the conservation of giant pandas at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu, China will present a mini-symposium, “Biology and Conservation of the Giant Panda,” at Drexel University on August 22.

Dr. Hou Rong, the director of Research at the Chengdu Panda Base, will present the results of research at the Chengdu Panda Base on the biology and conservation of the giant panda. She is accompanied by Dr. Lan Jingchao, the director of the Veterinary Hospital at the Chengdu Panda Base and Dr. Qi Dunwu who is in charge of its program to reintroduce giant pandas back into the wild. The Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base is a non-profit organization engaged in wildlife research, captive breeding, conservation education and educational tourism.

Giant Panda eating bamboo. Photo by Zhang Zhihe.

Drexel and Chengdu panda researchers have collaborated for several years. Dr. James Spotila, the Betz Chair Professor of Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel, has collaborated with Hou since 2007 on research into the effects of climate change on the giant panda. During this time, four undergraduates studying with Spotila have gone to the Chengdu Panda Base for internships or cooperative education work experiences. A current Drexel doctoral student, Fei Yuxiang, is currently at the Chengdu Panda Base carrying out a study on the metabolism of the giant panda.

The visiting scientists have spent the summer in Philadelphia via a scientist exchange program from the Global Cause Foundation. During their visit, they have toured other wildlife areas, pursued research activities and taken English language courses. The Chinese scientists chose Drexel based on the support and ongoing scientific collaboration with Spotila. Spotila is also a vice president of the Global Cause Foundation. 

Giant Panda in a tree. Photo by Zhang Zhihe.

The symposium is sponsored by Drexel’s English Language Center, Department of Biology, Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science (BEES), all in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as by the Global Cause Foundation and Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

The symposium is free and open to the public. It will take place at the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building at 33rd and Chestnut Streets, Room 106, from 2-5 p.m. on August 22, 2012. A reception will follow.

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