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why are pandas endangered

why are pandas endangeed

why are pandas endangered

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What do Pandas Look Like?

why are pandas endangeed

Surprisingly,

not all pandas look like the movie-classic bears portrayed in Kung Foo Panda.

There are actually two extant (living) species of panda.

  • The first bears the coloration that most people are familiar with – black spots and bands around the eyes, ears, and body.
  • The second subspecies, Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis,
  • Instead of the black on white coloration, they (unsurprisingly) have dark brown on light brown coloring.

Regardless of the subspecies, pandas are relatively small bears that stand 60-90 cm (2-3 feet) while on all fours and can grow to be 120-180 cm (4-6 feet) standing on their hind legs. Pandas are among the lightest of the bears,

with males being heavier than females at 113 kg (250 pounds) and females usually less than 100 kg (220 pounds).

Why Are Pandas Endangered Animals?

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thanks to their bold black and white coloration.

Since almost all other bears have just one solid coat color, pandas are highly unusual-looking.

They are also unique in other ways.

 

Pandas exclusively eat bamboo.

Unfortunately, these fascinating bears are highly endangered due to habitat loss and other issues.

Habitat Loss

By far, the greatest threat facing wild pandas, and the biggest reason they are critically endangered today, is deforestation on the part of humans, which has led to permanent habitat loss in some areas.

Wild pandas once roamed bamboo forests in China, Vietnam, Laos and Burma.

 

Scientists estimate that there are only around 1,800 wild pandas alive today.

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Habitat loss spells certain doom for pandas.

Relocating to another forest is often impossible,

as forests today have become separated from one another, thanks to human cities and towns.

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Difficulties Reproducing

Even in captivity, breeding pandas is notoriously difficult.

 

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If pandas do mate in captivity,

causing them to abandon or even harm their cubs.

Because of these issues,

conservation programs that release pandas into the wild, in order to increase their numbers, are simply not possible, as they are for animals such as:

  • lions
  • wolves

Poaching of Wild Pandas

It may seem unthinkable that anyone would knowingly kill an endangered animal, but it does happen via illegal poaching.

Panda skins and pelts can fetch poachers hefty sums of money on the black market.

China has strict penalties for anyone caught poaching pandas, but some poachers persist, in spite of the risks.

With wild panda numbers as low as they are, even a single panda killed by poachers is a devastating loss

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Giant pandas no longer endangered in the wild, China announces

The head of the environment ministry’s department of nature and ecology conservation, Cui Shuhong, said the reclassification was the result of “improved living conditions and China’s efforts in keeping their habitats integrated”.

He said the announcement reflected China’s national efforts to preserve biodiversity in recent years.

The authorities have worked to expand giant pandas’ habitats and replanted bamboo forests to feed them.

The number of Siberian tigers, amur leopards, Asian elephants and crested ibis have also “visibly increased” as a result of continuing conservation efforts in recent years, Cui told a press conference this week.

resources:.theguardian.com

Why Are Pandas Endangered?

Pandas are recognizable, lovable bears that have appeared in movies, on money, and even in the Olympics.

appearing on the logo of the World Wildlife Foundation.

Like most species, the answer is human activity.

, let’s first learn more about who panda bears are and how they live.

Where do Pandas Live?

Pandas, also known as giant pandas, inhabit an incredibly small region of the globe.

The black panda mainly lives in just a few mountain ranges in central China.

They typically live in Sichuan province but are also inhabit the neighboring provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

The brown panda inhabits an even smaller territory, only in the Qinling mountains in southern Shaanxi province.

They live in isolated patches of bamboo forest and have relatively small territories of about five square kilometers (two miles).

Pandas’ Diet

The simple answer to what these bears eat is bamboo.

While they technically fall under the order Carnivora, they are actually classified as folivores. Folivores are highly specialized herbivores that have evolved to eat primarily leaves.

They are fairly common in the animal kingdom; animals such as elephants, beetles (some species), and iguanas are all folivores.

Pandas rely on the leaves and shoots of bamboo for the vast majority of their diet. Depending on the region, the bears may eat black bamboo, arrow bamboo, and ‘water bamboo,’ in addition to other species.

What kind of bamboo pandas eat, and what part of the plant they consume is also subject to the season.

During the spring and summer, when the plants are flowering, the bears will typically consume the leaves and shoots.

As fall turns to winter, their main diet is the root of the bamboo plant.

Due to the lack of nutrients in bamboo, they must consume a massive amount of the plant each day.

Typically, they will eat 23–40 kg of bamboo (50-90 pounds) each and every day.

Occasionally, pandas will consume meat in the form of small rodents, but this comprises only about 1% of their diet.

How Many Pandas Are in the Wild?

Pandas are extremely difficult to count, even under the best circumstances.

Since the mid-1970s, China has conducted an official survey of their wild populations in order to help with conservation efforts.

This survey has been conducted by many various methods including spotting of pandas, estimating based on bite marks of bamboo, and counting dung left by the bears.

Recently, researchers have attempted to estimate the population size by utilizing the genomics of various wild populations.

Figures suggest the wild panda population size may have been around 3,000 in the mid-1950s.

By the mid-1970s, the Chinese government estimated that size to be about 1,100 individuals.

In the 1980s that number hadn’t changed, but by the 1990s, the population had grown to about 1,600.

There may be hope that those numbers are higher, though

. A 2006 study conducted in the Wanglang Reserve in Sichuan Province estimated the wild population to be twice as high as a survey conducted just five years prior.

there may be as many as 2,500–3,000 giant pandas in the wild.”

Now that we know where and how they live, we can revisit our first question: why are pandas endangered?

As we mentioned above, the answer is human activity.

Historically, the natural range of pandas was over ten times as large, spanning across much of central China.

The country’s population has doubled since 1960, and those people have to live somewhere.

China’s population pushing further and further into the mountains has destroyed much of the panda’s native habit.

Because 99% of their food source is bamboo, they must live in the bamboo forests on the sides of Chinese mountains.

For the past 80 years, Chinese authorities have built and maintained panda reserves.

 

Today, there are over 40 panda reserves across central and southwestern China.

These serve not only to protect the animals, but also to help researchers better study them to assist with conservation efforts in the future.

Do you want to help bring giant pandas back from the brink of extinction?

Consider donating to organizations that support their habitat reconstruction today!

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Endangered No Longer: The Giant Panda’s Remarkable Recovery

Easily one of the most beloved creatures in existence, the giant panda celebrated a small victory in September of 2016.

The cuddly mammal was officially moved from the IUCN’s Red List of “endangered species” to “vulnerable species” thanks to tireless efforts of conservationists campaigning and working on their behalf.

Giant pandas first became endangered in 1990 due to excessive poaching in the 80s and deforestation,

depleting their bamboo food source

. A fickle species, bamboo can grow extensively in mountainous or barren lands, but then dies in the winter.

This forces giant pandas in those areas to relocate for their food.

Farmland expansion causes fragmentation of panda habitats, secluding the species to those locations deprived of bamboo and other pandas.

China has made several successful attempts to reforest, although efforts such as the infamous Grain-for-Green Program have not yet proven to be definitively effective on all environmental fronts.

Since the 1940s, the Chinese government has worked to conserve giant panda habitat and protect the wildlife within it.

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