Information On Panda Bears Page 2



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Both the giant and the red panda are classified as carnivores (meat eaters), but both continue to act like herbivores (plant eaters). The giant pandas are known to eat 26 different plant species, but 99% of the giant pandas diet is made up of bamboo. Less work has been done on the red pandas diet, although it is believed that the red panda will eat Sorbus berries when in season, while in other parts of their territory they have been observed robbing nests of eggs and chicks.

Reproductive Behavior

The giant panda's gestation period varies from three to five and a half months. Pregnant giant pandas build nests in caves, bamboo thickets, or hollows at the base of trees. The giant panda is a very good mother, providing intense care for the infant.  Born blind and toothless, newborns are only a quarter pound.  The young panda’s first teeth appear around the end of the third month. By the fifth month the young panda is walking, running and playing.

The red panda has a fixed breeding season, a higher percentage of surviving young, smaller (but more frequent) litters.  Their gestation period is between ninety and one hundred and forty five days.  Red panda cubs are heavier at birth and more developed. The mothers stay close to the cubs for the first ten days, then they leave the cubs for short periods to feed and to tend themselves. At eight months the cubs are independent.


Future for the Panda

Giant panda bears are an endangered species, threatened by continued habitat loss and by a very low birthrate, both in the wild and in captivity.  They have fallen victim to poaching and the illegal black market.  Fortunately, many organizations such as the Wolong National Nature Reserve and the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries are only a small part of the global effort to save the Pandas.

Success stories like Hua Mei, the baby panda born at the San Diego Zoo in 1999, inspire continued efforts as well as consumer entertainment.  Millions of panda bear toys are made each year.  Panda movies and panda pictures are some of the most searched on the internet.



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