Giant Panda Introduction

Pandas or Giant pandas are peaceful creatures with a distinctive black and white coat. They are adored by the world and considered a national treasure of China. Let’s discover some fascinating facts about them, shall we?

Giant Panda Introduction

Giant Panda Introduction 1

In the 1980s, there were about 1,114 pandas in China. However, the most recent survey in 2014 estimated that about 1864 giant pandas existed in the wild and 548 giant pandas lived in captivity (breeding centers & zoos).

Pandas’ characteristics

In addition to the stocky characteristic shape of a bear, the sharply contrasting black and white colors make the giant panda one of the most recognizable animals in the world. Their heads, top of necks, and rumps are white. However, their small patches of fur around the eyes, ears, shoulders, front legs, and rear legs are black.

Compared to other bears, the heads of the giant pandas are larger than their body. Their front paw has six digits. As a result of the radial sesamoid, Pandas’ wrist bone extends to form an awkward but functional opposable thumb.

Adult giant pandas range in body length from about 160 to 190 centimeters (64 to 76 inches). Males are slightly longer than females. They have stronger forelegs and are 10 to 20 percent heavier. In the wild, males weigh are from 85 to 125 kilograms (190 to 275 pounds), while females range between 70 and 100 kilograms (155 to 220 pounds). At birth, panda cubs weigh only 85 to 140 grams (3 to 5 ounces).

Panda’s Habitat

Giant pandas often live at an altitude between 1,200 and 4,100 meters (4,000 and 11,500 feet) in mountain forests. These areas are consist of dense stands of bamboo. The average range for pandas’ whereabouts is 8.5 square kilometers (3.3 square miles) for male pandas and 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) for the females.

These creatures are found only in southwestern China, along the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau. Although they were once widespread in many regions, Pandas have now limited to six small areas in Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provinces, with a total of only 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles).

Pandas’ reproduction

Giant pandas reach sexual maturity from four-and-a-half to six-and-a-half years of age. They 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.

Female Pandas often bear one, two, or occasionally three cubs in their offspring periods, which occur in August or September. They usually choose a hollow tree or cave to take birth to youngs. Normally, only one baby panda is raised. Although panda cubs are usually weaned at about nine months of age, they remain with their mothers for up to 18 months.

Giant Panda Introduction 2

Giant Panda Introduction 2

The importance of pandas

The giant panda plays a crucial role in the development of bamboo forests where they inhabit. By spreading seeds while roaming, they have facilitated the growth of vegetation. In the Yangtze Basin where pandas live, the forest is also home to a stunning array of wild animals, including dwarf blue sheep, multicolored pheasants, and other endangered species such as golden monkey, takin, and crested ibis.

The giant panda’s habitat is at the geographic and economic heart of China. It also is home to millions of people. Therefore, Pandas bring huge economic benefits to local communities through ecotourism.

Every giant panda in the world belongs to China because this country does not sell pandas. Other countries can only hire pandas for a fixed time. The average lifetime of a panda in the wild is around 20 years. However, they can live up to 35 years in controlled environments such as zoos.

Funny things about Pandas

Do you know that scientists have to wear panda costumes to not disturb them while they are making research? You can also find many funny videos about these cute animals. In addition to this, these creatures are very stubborn, especially baby panda. They tend to rush to others because they find it quite interesting to do so.

Do you want to own a panda? It is definitely difficult to possess a real one. However, you can collect a panda model with pop up card in a box. It also can be used as a birthday pop card for your friend or an educational simulation for kids.

Source: Summary from website:  bearbiology.org;wwf.panda.org;

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