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?
As the manager of a charitable fund people often comment that it must be a little like playing God. Certainly I've had responses from unsuccessful applicants telling me that my decision will result in children starving, which is not the kind of message anyone wants to see in their inbox. But how do you choose which projects to fund and who to help?