The life span of giant pandas in the wild is approximately 20 years. Captive pandas may live to be 25-30 years old.e The eyespots of a giant panda cub are initially in the shape of a circle. As the cub grows, the circles become shaped like a teardrop.b Giant pandas are on the brink of extinction, with just over 1,000 pandas left in the world. Scientists are hoping to increase the wild panda population to 5,000 by 2025.a The giant panda has been an endangered species list since 1990. The most significant threats to pandas are habitat loss and poaching. China is only approximately 5% greater than the U.S. in area but has four times the population.h Many Chinese philosophers believe that the universe is made from two opposing forces, the Yin and Yang. The panda is one symbol of this philosophy with its contrasting black-and-white fur. The Chinese believe that the gentle nature of the panda demonstrates how the Yin and Yang bring peace and harmony when they are balanced.c Pandas have been a symbol of peace in China. For example, hundreds of years ago, warring tribes in China would raise a flag with a picture of a panda on it to stop a battle or call a truce.f two pandas Pandas evolved between 2-3 million years ago
Pandas have lived on earth for two to three million years.e
The red panda and the giant panda share the same habitat and diet, and both animals are also endangered. However, scientific tests show that the red panda is in the raccoon family while the giant panda is in the bear family. Some scientists believe that the giant panda is so special that it should belong to its own family group.c According to legend, the panda was once an all-white bear. When a small girl tried to save a panda cub from being attacked by a leopard, the leopard killed the girl instead. Pandas came to her funeral wearing armbands of black ashes. As they wiped their eyes, hugged each other, and covered the ears, they smudged the black ashes.h Pandas can stand upright, but their short hind legs aren’t strong enough to support their bodies. A panda’s bones are twice as heavy as the bones of other animals the same size.d Pandas are pigeon-toed; in other words, they walk with their front paws turned inward.d Pandas do not run fast—a slow trot is as fast as they can go. The fastest bear is the black bear, which can run 35 miles per hour. That’s about as a fast as a horse or deer.c giant panda A baby panda lives with its mother between 18 months to 2 years Female pandas ovulate only once a year. They are fertile only two or three days of the year.c Giant panda cubs are usually born in August or September and are the size of a stick of butter. A cub has pink skin, a thin coat of white fur, a long tail, and no teeth. Its eyes are closed. By the end of the first month, the baby panda has all of its spots. Its eyes open around 4-6 weeks. A baby panda is almost 2 months old before it is the size of an average human newborn baby. A baby is almost 2 years old when it leaves its mother.d Pandas rely less on visual memory than they do on spatial memory to locate a mate’s home range area and preferred patches of bamboo. Spatial memory is defined as the ability to remember a location.d It takes about five years for a female cub to become an adult and up to seven years for a male cub.f There are only about 240 captive pandas in the world. They are all part of a breeding program.a The ancestor of the giant panda is the Ailurarctos (“cat bear”), which is an extinct genus of the Chinese panda that lived 8 million years ago. The skull of another ancestor, Ailuropoda microta, shows that it was half the size of a modern-day giant panda. Research shows that for the past 3 million years, giant pandas have evolved as a separate linage from other bears.h Pandas have plantigrade feet. This means their entire foot (toes and heel) touches the ground when walking, which is similar to the way humans, other bears, and rodents walk. Other animals, such as dogs, cats, and horses...
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