The following is from the Jan. 2, 2008, edition of The Rocky Mountain News. Suzanne Braden earned a master's degree in psychology from SMU.
By Gary Massaro
The Rocky Mountain News
Suzanne Braden pandas to animal lovers.
Braden, 56, (who earned a master's degree in psychology from SMU) is co-founder of Pandas International, a nonprofit devoted to helping the Chinese save the endangered bears.
As the bald eagle is to the United States, so is the panda to China.
Trouble is, there aren't many pandas left - maybe 1,600 by some accounts. Braden helped found the organization after a trip to China in 1999. Friends took her to a panda refuge in Wolong.
"It was closed," she said. "But it wasn't locked. I figured if they wanted to keep me out, they would have locked it."
She liked what she saw on her unguided tour, liked even more what she saw the next day when the staff was back at work.
Veterinarians told her the government was helping as much as it could. But it wasn't enough.
"There's too many needs and not enough to go around," Braden said. "I'd like to see them doing more. I'd like to see our government doing more for endangered species, too."
On the way home, Braden and friend Diane Rees, a retired lobbyist, set out to start up Pandas International.
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