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you are here: Home - China travel guide - Giant Panda
 

Giant Panda

 

Panda Bear

Giant pandas are a symbol of the fight to preserve endangered species. Only about 1,600 of these endangered bears remain in the wild.

Giant pandas are black-and-white Chinese bears that are on the verge of extinction. They have black fur on ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, and shoulders. The rest of the animal's coat is white. Although scientists do not know why these unusual bears are black and white, some speculate that the bold coloring provides effective camouflage into their shade-dappled snowy and rocky surroundings. The panda's thick, wooly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat. Giant pandas have large molar teeth and strong jaw muscles for crushing tough bamboo. Many people find these chunky, lumbering animals to be cute, but giant pandas can be as dangerous as any other bear.

The Chinese people call the panda "Da xiong mao," which means "giant bear cat" in Chinese. The panda is a symbol of peace in China.

This bear is quite different from other bears. It has unusual cat-like eyes, and its front paws have an opposable "thumb."

Female pandas are called sows, males are called boars, and the young are called cubs.

Geographic Distribution of Panda

Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing, and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains. They live in broadleaf and coniferous forests with a dense understory of bamboo, at elevations between 5,000 and 10,000 feet. Torrential rains or dense mist throughout the year characterizes these forests, often shrouded in heavy clouds.

Giant PandaGiant Pandas' Diet

A wild giant panda's diet is almost exclusively (99 percent) bamboo. The balance consists of other grasses and occasional small rodents or musk deer fawns. In zoos, giant pandas eat bamboo, sugar cane, rice gruel, a special high-fiber biscuit, carrots, apples, and sweet potatoes.

Pandas eat about 40 pounds (18 kg) of food each day. Bamboo is very low in nutrition. Even though the panda eats this plant, it cannot digest it very well and most of the bamboo passes undigested through the digestive tract. It has to eat for up to 12 hours every day in order to get enough nourishment. Its throat and stomach have extra-tough linings to protect them from the tough food.

Giant Pandas' Lifestyle

A wild panda spends much of its day resting, feeding, and seeking food. Unlike other bears from temperate climates, giant pandas do not hibernate. Until recently, scientists thought giant pandas spent most of their lives alone, with males and females meeting only during the breeding season. Recent studies paint a different picture, in which small groups of pandas share a large territory and sometimes meet outside the breeding season. Much remains to be learned about the secret lives of these elusive animals, and every new discovery helps scientists in their battle to save this species.

Giant Pandas after Earthquake

The devastating earthquake in China on May 12, 2008 left Wolong Giant Pandas Nature Reserve, Giant Pandas Breeding Base and Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries in Sichuan province severely damaged! However, luckily, the giant pandas did not suffered badly, and only one was missing and one was dead!

Giant Pandas after EarthquakeAfter earthquake, because of damage of Wolong Giant Pandas Nature Reserve, the inconvenient transportation, the uncompleted reconstruction and the poor Hotel, in addition, most of giant pandas have been transferred to Bifengxia Panda Base, so it is impossible to go to Wolong to visit giant pandas. And now, the tourists who want to visit giant pandas are just allowed to Giant Pandas Breeding Base, located in the northern suburb of Chengdu on Futou Hill and 10 km from downtown Chengdu, and as well as Bifengxia Panda Base, located in just in Bifengxia Mountain Park.

As a tourist to giant pandas, not only you can watch all their behaviors, including how can they eat food, how can they sleep and so on, you can also ask your experienced guide to arrange for you to take picture photo with pandas (hold panda baby for photo in your lap) in cub or Children pandas bear house, of course taking picture photo with baby pandas cost you extra as donation (Sometimes not available for photo with pandas and play with pandas).

Also, you have chance to do volunteering work for giant panda, you can become an assistant of China panda keeper, or the interpreter of panda garden, or the private tourists of our Lychee Travel, so that you can be closest to them. You can feed them food, take a bath for them, and clear the enclosures and so on. In a word, you can take care of them by yourself just like a keeping panda staff.

Sichuan Panda Tours

 
travel to Chengdu Panda Base   Chengdu Panda Base and Wenshuyuan Temple Tour
Duration: 1 day Available: daily
Visiting: Chengdu Panda Base
Special Experience: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and Wenshuyuan Temple

Chengdu Panda Base and Wenshuyuan Temple Tour details...

Giant Panda Tour in Wanglang Reserve   Giant Panda Tour in Wanglang and Chengdu Panda Base
Duration: 5 days Available: daily
Visiting:Chengdu, Wanglang Reserve
Special Experience: Life of giant panda and natural sightseeing

Panda Trip details...

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