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Pull the plug on Pandas, declares BBC man

Then torch the civil servants, human race

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A BBC wildlife presenter has come off with a novel approach to saving the Giant Panda - don't bother.

Chris Packham, who is all set to present the BBC's flagship Autumnwatch program, said the cuddly but rather useless Asian bears, whose diet of bamboo shoots means they never store enough fat to hibernate properly, were soaking up conservation cash that could be better spent elsewhere.

"I reckon we should pull the plug. Let them go, with a degree of dignity," the no-nonsense conservationist told Radio Times.

He condemned the ursine freeloaders as "T-shirt animals" saying "Here's a species that, of its own accord, has gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac. It's not a strong species. Unfortunately, pandas are big and cute and a symbol of the World Wildlife Fund."

Warming to his theme, Packham said we could take a similar attitude to other species - with civil servants top of his list.

"Go into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with a flamethrower and torch all of the stupid bureaucracy that dogs our farmers," he ranted. "Let's start organising fair pricing for UK farmers."

In fact, said Packham, he'd like to see the entire human race extinct: "No question. That's the only one."

Which is certainly an option.

But short of genocide, Packham will have to settle for boring humans to death with the latest series of Autumnwatch, which will be kicking off sometime later in this season of mellow fruitfulness. ®

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