Adult giant panda
Photo of “Grosser Panda” by J. Patrick Fischer – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Saving the giant panda bear
Adapted from The Independent News UK, Smithsonian National Zoo
and Wikipedia by Patti-Lea Ryan, Level 3
At one time, wild giant panda bears lived in China,
Vietnam and Burma.
Now they are found only in the mountains of China.
Forests are being cleared for roads and railroads.
This reduces the giant pandas’ access to
the bamboo they eat.
The disturbance also reduces their mating.
This means that there is a high risk of extinction.
There are only 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild.
Researchers want to increase the number
of this endangered species.
Hope for the future of giant pandas
Currently there about 315 pandas in captivity.
Most of the babies are born
in Chinese research centres.
Sometimes China will lend their pandas
to other countries for 10 years.
The hope is that they will mate
and produce a cub.
If a is cub born,
it becomes the property of China.
Two giant pandas are on loan to Canada until 2022.
They are at the Toronto Zoo.
They will go to the Calgary Zoo in 2017.
Precious one week old panda at Chengdu
Photo by Wikipedia/ User:Colegota and post-processed with The GIMP – Own work
Tiny and very precious
This is a newborn giant panda.
It does not look like a giant.
However, huge hope for the future of panda
bears lie within tiny ones like this.
Scientists want to help save the giant panda.
Their mother was artificially inseminated.
At birth, the babies weigh between 4 – 7 oz.
They are 6 – 7 inches long.
The distinctive panda dark spots around
its eyes, ears, back and legs
will appear in about a week.
In a couple of months the tiny cubs will look
like this happy guy.
At first, it will eat mother’s milk only.
When they are older,
bamboo leaves will be fed to them
slowly over time.
Mother’s milk will be a staple
until the cubs are 18 months old.
Cubs mostly eat and sleep.
As they get older, they love to tumble
and play with other young pandas
and their mother.
There are lots of fun things
in the centres for the bears to play with.
Trees, logs, hanging tires,
waterfalls, toys and balls to name a few.
Goal: Increase the number of Pandas and release them into the wild
Panda Bear at the San Diego Zoo happily eating bamboo leaves
Photo by fortherock/CC, Flickr
Some centres are for breeding the pandas only.
These centres play an important part
along with the releasing and research centres.
Other centres train and care for young and rescued pandas.
Bears are trained in simulated wild environments.
Some pandas can be there for years
until they are ready. Some never leave.
The goal is to release them
into the wild if research shows
that they are fit and ready.
- Extinction: the end of a species; none left to reproduce.
- Endangered species: dangerously close to extinction.
- Captivity: cared for in a center; does not live in the wild.
- Artificial insemination: procedure to help females conceive babies.
- Simulated: environment put together by humans.
- World Wildlife Federation endangered species list (scroll down to Giant Panda)
- Giant pandas at the Toronto Zoo
- Watch live giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo.