1864

Giant Panda

Asia

1864

Ailuropoda Melanoleuca

Endangered

  • Continuing effects of deforestation which leads to its habitat loss
  • Difficulty to reproduce
  • Difficulty to adapt to other types of habitat

One of the most easily recognised species in the world, the Giant Panda or Panda Bears although native to the mountain forests of southwest China also used to roam the bamboo forests of Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.

This black and white coated peaceful creature is considered a national treasure in China. Despite its exalted status, there are 1,864 individuals living in the wild today. It has long been removed from the IUCN list of endangered species but it is still considered as vulnerable to threats of extinction if conservation efforts will not be pursued.

Because their main diet almost consists entirely of bamboo, it would be difficult for the Giant Pandas to survive in areas where there is no abundance of bamboo trees. They need to consume at least 20 pounds every day, sometimes even up to 40 pounds of bamboo. Because of its specific adaptation to this eating habit, its digestive system is not designed for other food sources.

Panda Bears are highly selective of their mates so it is common for this species to produce one cub in its lifetime. Moreover, the bamboo’s low nutrients make its body ill-equipped for pregnancy. If it does conceive more than one cub, the smaller one is most likely left to die as the mother panda can only feed the bigger one.

Breeding in captivity, on the other hand, means that cubs must be raised with constant human intervention as mother pandas tend to lose its maternal instinct. Putting them back in the wild is not a good idea as this makes them vulnerable to attacks of wild animals.