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Last Updated: Tuesday September 22 2009 10:12 GMT

Panda protection 'too expensive'

A panda

Protection for pandas 'too expensive'

People all over the world campaign to protect the giant panda from extinction but one wildlife expert says he thinks they should be left to die out.

Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham says it doesn't make sense spending millions breeding pandas in captivity when they can't survive in the wild.

He says pandas' natural habitats are dying out, making it hard for the furry beasts to survive on their own.

So he thinks the money would be better off spent on protecting other animals.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy with the TV presenter's views.

Wildlife expert Chris Packham
Chris Packham admits his views on pandas are controversial

Dr Mark Wright, who's an advisor for the World Wildlife Fund, said: "It's a daft thing to say and an irresponsible one.

"Pandas face extinction because of poaching and humans moving into their habitat. If left alone, then they would function perfectly well."

Mr Packham admits his views are controversial, but says it's time we found the courage "to give up on pandas", which he says are not a strong species.

"Unfortunately it's big and cute and it's a symbol of the World Wildlife Fund - and we pour millions of pounds into panda conservation.

"I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go with a degree of dignity."