Scientific classification: The giant panda was formerly classified as a member of the raccoon family, but is now considered a true bear. why are giant pandas endangered The giant panda belongs to the subfamily Ailuropodinae in the family Ursidae
The Giant Panda is a bamboo-eating bear that lives in forests high in the mountains of central China. As one of the rarest but most recognized animals in the world, the giant panda has become an international emblem of endangered species and wildlife conservation efforts. why are giant pandas endangered,The Chinese name for the giant panda, da xiong mao, means “great bear-cat.”
The giant panda resembles other bears in general appearance, with the exception of its coloring. The giant panda is white with black patches over its eyes, ears, and legs and a black band across its shoulders. Like other bears, the giant panda has long, shaggy fur. It keeps the giant panda warm in the cold and damp forest.
Giant pandas have an enlarged wrist bone on the forefoot that functions as an opposable thumb. Their premolar teeth and molars are generally larger and broader than those of other bears, and their jaw bones and cheek muscles are exceptionally strong. why are giant pandas endangered, These adaptations assist giant pandas in holding, crushing, and eating bamboo. An adult giant panda usually weighs between 75 and 160 kg (between 165 and 350 lb). Males are generally 20 percent heavier than females. The giant panda grows to about 1.5 m (about 5 ft) in head-and-body length, plus a 12.5-cm (5-in) tail.
Habitat and behavior
Giant pandas are found in the wild in the Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provinces of central China. They live in a few rugged mountain ranges at the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau where temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests contain dense stands of bamboo. Giant pandas are usually found at elevations between 2,300 and 3,800 m (7,500 and 12,500 ft) but will relocate to lower elevations in winter and spring. However, the zone of bamboo vegetation below 1,200 m (3,800 ft) has been cleared for agriculture in many areas, greatly restricting the giant panda’s range.
Unlike other bears that live in temperate climates, giant pandas do not hibernate. Bamboo is usually abundant and green even in winter, so they generally have no lack of food.
Although giant pandas eat bamboo, they have the digestive system of a carnivore like other bears. Their system cannot efficiently digest bamboo, so they must eat large amounts to obtain enough nutrition. A giant panda must consume between 12 and 38 kg (26 and 84 lb) of bamboo each day. It spends 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating. why are giant pandas endangered A giant panda usually feeds in a sitting position, enabling it to grasp a bamboo stalk between its “thumb” and first two digits. It strips away the bamboo’s tough outer layer with its teeth, and then slowly eats the peeled stalk. It also eats bamboo leaves, shoots, and roots. If its usual food supply is unavailable, a giant panda may feed on other plants, such as irises and crocuses, or even small animals, such as rodents.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists the giant panda as an endangered species. The giant panda is officially protected in China. An estimated 1,600 giant pandas live in the wild, about 60 percent of them in protected forests. More than 160 pandas live in captive settings such as zoos and breeding centers, mostly in China.
Habitat destruction ranks as the greatest threat to the giant panda’s survival. Giant pandas have lost most of their original habitat to an expanding human population. Giant pandas were once widespread in southern and eastern China. why are giant pandas endangered Due to human settlement and development, giant pandas have been pushed to the edge of their former distribution. They are now confined to small isolated patches of forest on six mountain ranges in central China.