Giant Panda Facts

Good morning you wonderful lot! Hope you’re all OK. It hasn’t been a great week for my family and me, we’re under a lot of stress at the moment which is taking its toll on each of our health. One thing that happened was that I received the results from my blood test last Friday which showed that I’ve got a Low Vitamin D Deficiency and Low Iron, which the doctor thinks is why my wrist isn’t healing like it should be, so I’ve been prescribed some tablets to help (fingers cross they work 🤞), we’ve had problems with the sink in the kitchen, which we’ve found out needs to be replaced amongst other problems with the house. Anyway, I’ve rambled on too much, let’s move on and get on with the topic of today’s post.

Every year on March 16, we celebrate the fluffiest, bamboo-munching bears that are a source of national pride for China. In the wilderness, giant pandas live only in the remote, mountainous regions of China, and as of 2019, due to rapidly growing population numbers, the status of pandas was upgraded from “endangered” species to “vulnerable” species. Panda bears play an important part in the ecosystem of China’s bamboo forests, by spreading seeds, and therefore, growing new vegetation, which serves both humans and animals. That’s why it is important to protect the panda and its environment. In order to raise awareness to keep these beautiful animals protected, I thought I would share some interesting facts about Pandas that you might not know…

About Giant Pandas:

The giant panda, also known as the panda bear (or simply the panda), is a bear species endemic to China. It is characterized by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. The name “giant panda” is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet. It is perhaps the most powerful symbol in the world when it comes to species conservation. In China, it is a national treasure, and for WWF the panda has a special significance since it has been the organization’s symbol since 1961 when WWF was formed.

The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan, but also in neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu. As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived, and it is a conservation-reliant vulnerable species. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) reclassified the species from “endangered” to “vulnerable”, affirming decade-long efforts to save the panda. In July 2021, Chinese authorities also reclassified the giant panda as vulnerable rather than endangered. While the dragon has often served as China’s national symbol, internationally the giant panda has often filled this role. As such, it is becoming widely used within China in international contexts, for example, appearing since 1982 on gold panda bullion coins and as one of the five Fuwa mascots of the Beijing Olympics.

Facts:

  • They have a large bone features and they are very strong and have a very powerful bite. This bite is useful because it allows them to eat through the root of the bamboo so that they can survive.
  • Pandas need at least 2 different bamboo species in their range to avoid starvation
  • Although pandas are 99% vegetarian their digestive system is typical of a carnivore. For the 1% of their diet that isn’t bamboo, pandas eat eggs, small animals, carrion, and forage in farmland for pumpkin, kidney beans, wheat and domestic pig food.
  • They have an extended wrist bone that they use like a thumb to help them grip food.
  • Giant pandas spend 10-16 hours a day feeding, mainly on bamboo.
  • In the wild, female giant pandas will emit special sounds such as baa, dog bark, or cow bark during their fertile period, while male giant pandas will leave scent markers as a sign to attract female giant pandas.
  • Female giant pandas are in heat once a year for only two to three days each time, usually in March to May each year. Pregnancy lasts about 5 months.
  • Giant pandas give birth to twins in about half of pregnancies. If twins are born, usually only one survives in the wild. The mother will select the stronger of the cubs, and the weaker cub will die due to starvation. The mother is thought to be unable to produce enough milk for two cubs since she does not store fat.
  • Baby pandas are born pink and measure about 15cm – that’s about the size of a pencil! They are also born blind and only open their eyes six to eight weeks after birth.
  • Mother pandas keep contact with their cub nearly 100% of the time during their first month – with the cub resting on her front and remaining covered by her paw, arm or head.
  • The Giant Panda’s scientific name is Ailuropoda Melanoleuca.
  • The giant panda’s distinct black-and-white markings have two functions: camouflage and communication. Most of the panda – its face, neck, belly, rump – is white to help it hide in snowy habitats. The arms and legs are black, helping it to hide in shade.
  • Giant pandas grow to between 1.2m and 1.5m, and weigh between 75kg and 135kg.
  • The average life span of a panda is between 14 and 20 years. That figure jumps to 30 years for those living in captivity.
  • The giant panda’s tail, measuring 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in), is the second-longest in the bear family, behind the sloth bear.
  • As of today, there are around 1860 Giant Panda’s left in the wild.
  • Giant pandas help to keep their mountain forests healthy by spreading seeds in their droppings, which helps vegetation to thrive.
  • In the wild, giant pandas (particularly cubs) climb trees to avoid their enemies and survey their surroundings. As it is safer in a tree, many giant pandas like to sleep in trees.
  • They are solitary animals. In the wild, they have their own territory, and they do not allow it to be invaded by other pandas.
  • Giant pandas are bears, and like other bears, they can swim.
  • Giant pandas do not hibernate because their bamboo-based diet prevents them from storing enough fat to sleep through the winter.
  • Pandas are not afraid of the cold. Even in temperatures as low as -4°C (25°F), they can still be found walking in groves of bamboo with thick snow.
  • When not eating and looking for food, pandas sleep most of the rest of the time. In the wild, giant pandas sleep for two to four hours between feeds.
  • They have good geographical memory, hearing, and sense of smell, but their sight is poor. However, they have cat-like pupils, so they can still see adequately to move around at night.
  • Pandas get into positions of various kinds with their seemingly clumsy bodies. Their favorite sleeping position is putting their hind paws on the trees with their front paws shading their eyes.
  • Giant pandas poop every 15–20 minutes, and poop 28 kilos (62 lb) per day.
  • Giant pandas mark their territory by leaving their scent on tree bark through urine, rubbing scent glands, and other ways. The higher they are able to mark their scent on a tree the stronger they are.
  • There are two giant panda subspecies, Sichuan giant pandas and Qinling giant pandas. Qinling pandas make up only 18.5 percent of the total giant panda population.
  • Giant pandas have been with us for a very, very long time. Their fossils have been found to date back between 2 and 3 million years ago.
  • Giant pandas have unusually thick and heavy bones for their size, but they are also very flexible and like to do somersaults.
  • Like other types of bears, giant pandas are curious and playful, especially when they’re young. In zoos, they like to play with enrichment items like piles of ice or sawdust, puzzles made of bamboo with food inside, and different scents like spices.
  • Although adult giant pandas have few natural predators other than humans, young cubs are vulnerable to attacks by snow leopards, yellow-throated martens, eagles, feral dogs, and the Asian black bear.
  • At 5 months old, giant pandas learn how to climb – sometimes practicing by climbing on their mum.
  • Pandas use body language to communicate. Aggressive pandas bob their heads, showcasing their eyes and ears, while submissive pandas hide their eyes with their paws or turn their heads to the side.
  • The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan, but also in neighbouring Shaanxi and Gansu.
  • The World Wildlife Fund chose the panda as their logo because of the peaceful nature of the bear.
  • The panda is a symbol of peace and friendship in China. Hundreds of years ago in times of war, tribes would raise a flag with a panda on it to stop a battle and call a truce.
  • The oldest recorded panda was Jiajia in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park. She died at 38 in 2016.
  • In order to improve living and mating conditions for the fragmented populations of pandas, nearly 70 natural reserves have been combined to form the Giant Panda National Park in 2020.
  • The giant panda is among the world’s most adored and protected rare animals, and is one of the few in the world whose natural inhabitant status was able to gain a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Things YOU Can Do:

  1. Watch a nature documentary about pandas – Watch “A Panda Is Born — Documentary About Taishan”, which describes the life of one of the most famous pandas in the world, who was born in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and is the first panda to survive to maturity.
  2. Adopt a Panda – You can sponsor and virtually “adopt” a panda online, which would help provide for their future existence. The cost to care for a panda in captivity can be expensive, but you are providing these creatures with longer, peaceful lives.
  3. Promote – You can use social media to help raise awareness to protect their shrinking habitat.
  4. Donate – If conservation is a cause close to your heart, then take some time to make a donation to a charity, zoo, or nature reserve that supports this important work.
  5. Buy Panda-themed memorabilia – Be sure to look into getting some panda souvenirs such as cuddly toys, artwork and accessories, especially if a percentage of the profits go towards protecting the panda.
  6. Visit a Zoo – Due to their low numbers, there aren’t a whole lot of zoos that have giant panda exhibits, but hopefully, you’ll be able to find one relatively close to home. If you are lucky enough to be near one, then this will be a great opportunity to learn more about these cuddly bears and contribute to vital conservation efforts.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post! If you would like to make a donation or learn more about Giant pandas and/or other endangered species, just click on this link > https://lp.panda.org/donate <. I hope you all have a lovely week, and I will see you next Wednesday!

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