This peaceful creature with a distinctive black and white coat is adored by the world and considered a national treasure in China.
Pandas live mainly in bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China, where they subsist almost entirely on bamboo. They must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of it every day, a formidable task for which they use their enlarged wrist bones that function as opposable thumbs.
In the 1980s, there were as few as 1,114 pandas in China. But the most recent survey in 2014 estimated that there were here are about 1864 giant pandas left in the wild and 548 giant pandas lived in captivity (breeding centers & zoos).
Giant pandas live at an altitude of between 1,200 and 4,100 meters (4,000 and 11,500 feet) in mountain forests that are characterized by dense stands of bamboo. Home ranges average 8.5 square kilometers (3.3 square miles) for ma les and 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) for females.
Adult gian pandas range in body length from about 160 to 190 centimeters (64 to 76 inches). Males are slightly longer than females, have stronger forelegs, and are 10 to 20 percent heavier. In the wild males weigh from 85 to 125 kilograms (190 to 275 pounds), while females range between 70 and 100 kilograms (155 to 220 pounds). At birth, cubs weigh only 85 to 140 grams (3 to 5 ounces).
Gian pandas are found only in southwestern China, along the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. Although they were once more widespread, today they are limited to six small areas in Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provinces, totaling only 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles)
The sharply contrasting black and white coloration, added to the stocky characteristic shape of a bear, makes the giant panda one of the most recognizable animals in the world. The head, top of the neck and rump are white, while small patches of fur around the eyes, the ears, shoulders, front legs, and rear legs are black. When compared with other bears, the head of the giant panda is large in relation to its body. The front paw has six digits as a result of the radial sesamoid, the wrist bone, becoming extended to form an awkward, but functional, opposable thumb. The male genitalia are small and pointed to the rear, which is more similar to the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) than to other bears.
Gian pandas reach sexual maturity from four-and-a-half to six-and-a-half years of age and mate during the spring, from March to May. Females are in estrus for one to three weeks, but peak receptiveness lasts for only a few days. Litters of one, two, or occasionally three cubs are born in August or September, usually in a hollow tree or cave. Normally, only one cub is raised. Although cubs are usually weaned at about nine months of age, they remain with their mothers for up to 18 months.
Gianpandas play a crucial role in the bamboo forests where they roam by spreading seeds and facilitating growth of vegetation. In the Yangtze Basin where pandas live, the forests are home to a stunning array of wildlife such as dwarf blue sheep, multicolored pheasants and other endangered species, including the golden monkey, takin and crested ibis.
The gianpanda’s habitat is at the geographic and economic heart of China, home to millions of people. By making this area more sustainable, we are also helping to increase the quality of life of local populations. Pandas bring huge economic benefits to local communities through ecotourism.
Every gianpanda in the world belongs to China. They do not sell any of their pandas but they hire them to other nations. Since they consume large amounts of bamboo in a day, it is possible for an average panda to defecate about 40 times in a day. Did you know that scientists have to wear panda costume in order to not disturb them while they are making research? You can find many funny videos where baby pandas rush to these scientists by finding them quite interesting. In addition to this, it will be worth to note that these animals are very stubborn. Especially their babies.
Every gian panda in the world belongs to China. Because they do not sell any of their pandas but they hire them to other nations. The average lifetime of a panda in the wilds is around 20 years. However, they can live up to 35 years in controlled environments such as zoos.
Source: Summary form website: bearbiology.org;wwf.panda.org;