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Panda BearThe giant panda is also known as the panda bear, bamboo bear, or in Chinese as Daxiongmao-- the "large bear cat." In fact, its scientific name means "black and white cat-footed animal."

Giant pandas have existed since the Pleistocene Era (about 600,000 years ago), when the China was extended further, towards the present southern China. Fossil remains of this creature have also been found in Burma.

The Panda Bear is considered to be one of the most endangered animal species left on the earth. Today it is found only in China, but once it ranged from Burma in the south to the outskirts of Beijing in the north. In China, the Panda lives in six small areas located on the higher altitudes and believed to possess magical powers that could protege off natural disasters and evil spirits.

Panda’s habitat
Giant pandas live in dense bamboo and coniferous forests at altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. The mountains are camouflaged with heavy clouds and torrential rains or dense mist throughout the year. The Chinese Government has 11 national parks set for the panda bear.

The Panda's natural appetite is the ‘bamboo stem’; this is its main food. Its natural habitat is in the mountains of central China where the bamboo is plentiful. The Panda eats huge amounts of bamboo and spends 50 to 75 percent of its day feeding. They stay on the ground most of the time, but climb trees for shelter or to hide from enemies.

The Bewitching Panda
Giant pandas have a close resemblance to bears with stunning black and white markings on their body. The ears, eye patches, legs, and shoulder band are black; the rest of the body is whitish. Their bodies are covered with dense fur like coat that works as an insulator and protect them from the cold weather.

Panda adults are 4 to 6 feet long and may weigh up to 350 pounds, about the same size as the American Black Bear. Males weighing 10% to 20% more than females.

Panda Bear Most Endangered Species left on Earth
Giant pandas are among the rarest mammals left in the world. The number has decreased down tremendously, there are probably less than 1,000 Panda’s left in the wild. Although adult giant pandas have few natural enemies, leopards sometimes prey upon the young ones.

With few other enemies other than people the life span of a wild Panda is about 25 years or more.

Further the forest reserves are continuously eradicated due to the vast expansion of China’s population as a result the panda's habitat has come under danger.

Protection and Conservation
Giant pandas are victims of poaching, or illegal killing, as their dense fur carries a high price in illegal markets in the Far East. The Chinese government has imposed life sentences for those convicted of poaching Giant Pandas.

The inefficient reproductive ability of the giant panda turns this unique creature more precious, as there are less chances of its increase from its low numbers.

Due to its shrinking numbers in 1984 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the giant panda as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The protection prohibited giant pandas from being imported into the U.S. except under certain conditions.

Government’s new Approach
As a new approach developed towards Giant Panda preservation in China, measures have being undertaken to develop the eco- tourism facilities in prime zones, that offers the opportunity to view Pandas in its most natural habitat.

Government has facilitated tour packages to Sechuan province, aiming at giving sanctioned perceptiveness into new Panda reserves that was not opened for the tourist till recently. The tour allows unique opportunities to sight Giant Pandas from close quarters. It also facilitates accommodations and to meet with some of China’s ancient tribal people, the Baima.

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