How much do we really know about the species that make up the natural world and how they interrelate? In this fascinating book Ken Thompson explains what we do and don't understand about biodiversity. We certainly know two things: that most species are rare, and most rare species remain undiscovered; and that biodiversity is threatened on every side - by overfishing, habitat loss, pollution and climate change. Throughout its history, life on Earth has experienced five episodes of mass extinction, and we are now in the middle of a sixth. Do We Need Pandas? asks how current and future biodiversity loss will affect us, the human race. Will we even notice, and if we do, what will we notice? It asks what we should be doing to secure the survival not only of the species with which we share the planet, but of our own species - and whether we need to be more concerned about ecosystems as a whole than about iconic species such as the giant panda.