You are likely already aware that one of China’s national treasures are their beautiful but endangered Panda Bears. These beautiful bears can be found at the zoos in Shanghai and Beijing, and in locations like the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu, or in the Wolong Nature Reserve in the Sichuan Province. In the United States, pandas can be seen in the National Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. Visitors can see the bears eating, sleeping and playing.
Giant Pandas are large, like most bears, but they typically have thick black and white fur with a short tail. The areas around a giant pandas eyes, ears, legs and shoulders and are black, while rest of the body is covered in white fur. The bears have very good vision. They also have powerful jaws and teeth so that they can chew tough foods such as bamboo shoots. Giant pandas have a special bones in their hands that works like an opposable thumb to help in holding their meals.
The pandas are native to just about six small locations in China. They live in the high mountainous regions near the center and southwest of China, among woods full of bamboo. The weather is mostly cloudy, rainy and misty through the year. The famous Chengdu Breeding Giant Panda Research is located on the mountain of Fu Tou. Giant pandas are considered carnivores, but the bears diet in the wild consists of almost all bamboo. It is definitely the favorite food of a giant panda. However, bamboo is extremely low in nutrition, meaning that a giant pand will need to eat for 10 to 14 hours per day.
The bears are very shy and prefer to live independently. The females and males only see eachother about twice a year, in the late spring or early summer seasons to strain. A few months later, the female bear will often give birth to just one or possibly two cubs in a den she has dug in the floor. Generally, only one of those bear cubswill live to adulthood. They are extremely small and helpless when they’re born, and cannot see. The newborn pandas are pink with almost no fur on their bodies. The mother panda nurses her nurse for around six months. At about one year old, the panda cubs are going to be able to live by themselves. Normally, a giant pandas can live to be between 17 and 20 years in the wild.
Just a little more than a hundred years ago there were thousands of giant pandas in China, but their population has steadily declined due to the destruction of the forests to make way for new homes and businesses. Luckily, pandas are protected by law and cannot be hunted. They can also live at safe places like the Wolong Nature Reserve.