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.
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
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
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 Pandas
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 Chinas 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
The inefficient reproductive ability of the giant panda turns this unique
creature more precious, as there are less chances of its increase from its
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.
Governments 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
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 Chinas ancient tribal people, the Baima.