WARNING! I’m sorry in advance for the multitude of pictures! They are just too adorable!! You’ll see!
Who doesn’t get all happy and cheery when they are shown a video of a big cute panda walking around and just eating bamboo?! The answer should be no one because they are that adorable! But many people don’t realize that these animals that we cherish so deeply are also endangered and on the brink of extinction. The panda, specifically the Giant Panda are one of these animals.
The Giant Panda, also known as an Ailuropoda Melanoleuca only have around 1,826 individuals left alive! When they all only live in one area, this could get very dangerous. This panda species lives in the temperate forests in southwest China. However luckily China has been working very hard to put many policies in place and regulations to keep this species alive.
I honestly believed the Giant Panda was a very large bear, however it wasn’t until I researched did I find out these animals only grown to about 4 feet and weight around 220-330 pounds. Now I realize they are about the size of a medium-large bear stuffed animal! Perfect size!
If there is one fact that the general public knows about the giant panda is its love for bamboo. They are always shown walking around with a bamboo stick in its mouth or lounging around holding bamboo. This actually makes sense because pandas normally spend half of their days, about 12 hours, just eating. Pandas need up to 28 pounds, 12.5 kilograms, of bamboo to satisfy themselves a day! That is an insane amount of food! And the fact that they are amazing climbers just continues to baffle me. Living in these bamboo forests, the giant pandas will spend hours upon hours climbing trees, sitting around, and chomping on their bamboo.
Giant Panda live solitary lives, using their amazing sense of smell to stay away from each other, or males will use it to find females in the spring for mating. Mating, and the beginning years of a pandas life will be the only interaction with others of its own species. Mothers will only give birth to one or two cubs. I would give anything to see and hold a baby giant panda because they only weigh 5 ounces and are much like a baby human in size and development. They are born blind and will not be able to crawl until 3 months into their lives. The black parts of their fur will not develop till later in life so they originally are completely white.
Hunting and poaching were huge problems in the past and continue to be an ever present problem. The panda’s gorgeous white and black fur is still wanted on the black market, but luckily has gone down because the giant panda has had enough public awareness. This cuddly bear has taken the hearts of the human species which has in turn decreased their rate of extinction. When the public is more aware of the situations at hand regarding endangered animals, they are more inclined to help. Deforestation is another large threat of these animals especially since there are so few left with such a small area to live in. However, the Chinese government has created over 50 panda reserves to support these creatures, but only about 61% of the panda population lives in these reserves.
I keep repeating this every week, but when the public is educated and aware of endangered species, they are more willing to help in any way and decrease the species rate of extinction. This is what is happening to the panda, especially after WWF has adopted the Giant Panda in its logo. It would truly be a sad day if the entire population of pandas just one day disappeared. Especially since one of my goals since being a child is to hug one of these fuzzy bears!