Giant Panda – Species Spotlight

The giant panda is on the World Conservation Union’s Red List of Threatened Species. Because of farming and forest clearing, pandas were forced to evacuate ground forests and adapt to the mountains. There are only about 1,800 giant pandas in the wild and 300 in zoos. Compared to the 4,000,000 pigeons in the world, the panda population is pretty small.

About The Species: Ailuropoda melanoleuca

A giant panda is typically 2-3 feet tall (on all four legs) and up to 6 feet long. They can be up to 250 pounds (male) and up to 220 pounds (female). Scientists do not know why the giant panda is black and white, but it may be because it helps them camouflage with the rock and snow of the mountain.

Because their diet is 99% bamboo, giant pandas have large molars in order to chew the tough stalks. Even though pandas eat mostly bamboo, giant pandas also eat sugar cane, grass, rodents, and birds. In captivity, pandas can get up to 35 years old. Giant pandas live in central China. They live in dense bamboo areas on mountains, at elevations between 5,000 and 10,000 feet.

Giant pandas are reproductive at about age 15. Females give birth after 95-160 days. In the wild, one surviving cub on average is born. The cubs are born pink, hairless, and blind. After three years, the cubs will set off on their own.

 

Why Giant Pandas?

Giant pandas are one of the world’s most endangered animals. Because of humans, giant pandas were forced to evacuate most ground forests. To me, giant pandas are one of the world’s most treasured species. They are the star in many zoos, books, and even movies. Giant pandas are not only a crowd favorite, but they also contribute to the balance of the ecosystem. They disperse the seeds of bamboo and other vegetation throughout many forests in China. These forests offer protection to the other endangered and non-endangered animals.

There are many different conservation programs such as the World Wildlife Fund that help the giant panda. In the past decade, the panda population has grown 16.8 percent due to major conservation efforts. On August 5, 2015, four male giant panda cubs were born on the same day in China, a huge achievement for the panda population.

 

Help the giant pandas by donating or symbolically adopting one here:

http://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions/Panda.aspx

 

Fun Facts:

-Giant pandas are the rarest bear.

-A newborn giant panda is about the size of a stick of butter.

-Giant pandas are excellent climbers.

-A giant panda has six “fingers” on each hand.

 

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