Giant Pandas Under Threat

By: Lauren Buccelli May 2013 $.99

The Da Xiong Mao

The Da Xiong Mao (the large bear cat) or Giant Panda is native to Southwestern China it lives in large forests of bamboo. But this bear we all know so well is vulnerable to extinction. There are only about 1,000 of these cute creatures left in the world. The first of these pandas to be exhibited in United States was in 1936 in Brookfield Zoo, Chicago. Since then America has fallen in love with the Giant Panda. Fortunately there are organizations’ to help endangered animals like the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). These organizations help experts to maintain accurate numbers, establish breeding programs, maintain habitats, and educate the public. The good news is that the Giant Panda population is steadily growing. The reason that the giant panda population took so long to grow is because that a female panda only gives birth to about 4 to 5 panda cubs in her lifetime.

When scientists went to categorize the giant panda, they had trouble determining what it was. The scientists had three ideas, one was that it was a part of the raccoon family; another idea was that it was a bear; the final idea was that it was a whole different species. The scientists had a hard time figuring it out because there were a few things that the giant panda did and had that puzzled them. One of the things that set the giant panda apart was the fact it did not hibernate. As most bears hibernate the giant panda does not. Another thing that made it different was that it had a wrist bone that acted like a thumb on its hand. Once the scientists completed a DNA test they figured out that the giant panda was a bear.

Giant Pandas are very unique in that when they are born they can weigh as little as 4 to 8 oz and an adult panda is a thousand times that weight. Giant pandas have 3 cubs at a time but raise usually only one. An adult female giant panda typically weighs 150-220 lbs where as a male typically weighs 190-275 lbs. Giant pandas eat almost exclusively bamboo which is not very nutritious, there for they must dedicate 10 hours a day to eating.

The Giant Panda is the national symbol of China, it is also the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund. This fluffy bear has worked it's way into the hearts of so many, and is a joy to behold. The giant panda is a unique and special creature. It is worthy of our efforts to preserve and maintain it, and its habitat.

Lauren Buccelli

Lauren Buccelli is a 5th grader at Deer Path Middle School, in Lake Forest. She enjoys Ice skating, choir, and has a flare for fashion. She has 3 brothers a kind mother a caring father and a dog named Spot.