The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, literally meaning “cat-foot black-and-white”) is a bear native to central-western and south western China. The Giant Panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda’s diet is 99% bamboo.
Other parts of its diet include honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, and bananas when available. Due to farming, deforestation, and other development, the Giant Panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. The Giant Panda is a conservation reliant endangered species. While the dragon has historically served as China’s national emblem, in recent decades the Giant Panda has also served as an emblem for the country.
The Giant Panda is an endangered species, threatened by continued habitat loss and by a very low birthrate, both in the wild and in captivity. Today, the giant panda’s future remains uncertain. As China’s economy continues rapidly developing, this bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces a number of threats. Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest China, is increasingly fragmented by roads and railroads. Habitat loss continues to occur outside of protected areas, while poaching remains an ever-present threat.
The steps taken by the chinese government to save these creatures are: •Reduction of human activities in the panda habitat •Removal of human settlements •Modification of forestry operations •Control of poaching •Rehabilitation of habitat •Management of bamboo habitat •Extension of the panda Reserve system •Achieving outbreeding between panda populations •Maintaining a captive population •Release of captive-born pandas into the wild