Pandas Pocket Journal

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Model: PJ-40
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Giant Panda (Ailuropodia melanolenca)

Found only in China, the charismatic but endangered panda clings to survival. Adult pandas are 5-6’ tall and weigh up to 275 lbs. The panda’s unique black and white patterning provides camouflage in its natural environment. Pandas live in dense mountainous forests of bamboo, where sunlight creates patterns of light and dark shadows. Giant pandas are by nature solitary animals most of the time, avoiding direct contact with other pandas.

Pandas are biologically unique. Though they are closely related to bears, long ago they adapted to a vegetarian diet, with accompanying changes in their dental structure. They depend almost exclusively on bamboo as a source of food. Not designed to digest plant matter, the panda’s digestive system cannot easily break down the cellulose in bamboo, so pandas must eat huge amounts of bamboo, 20-40 lbs. each day.

Pandas are among the rarest animals in the world with populations of about 1,000 individuals in the wild. The main threat to the panda is habitat destruction. The Chinese government has set aside major preserves to protect panda populations; but the clash between nature conservation and economic development is ever-present. Population fragmentation, a low reproductive rate and poaching also make panda populations vulnerable.

artwork by Linda Matusich, text by Steve Sierigk

Tags: animals,