Perhaps the poor panda's problem is that it is neither directly useful to humans like cows, sheep, potatoes and apples (whose populations have thrived alongside those of humans), nor has it ever been simply domesticated. Does another species need to be directly useful to humans in order for us to justify its survival?
Giant pandas are charismatic, fascinating creatures. From a biological perspective, I find them so very interesting. I really like them. And yet, I think it may be the time to let them drift off into extinction or, at the very least, reconsider our approach to their conservation. I do not say this lightly.