The Giant Panda Endangerment
The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is an animal that is loved all over the world. It is also known as the panda bear, bamboo bear, or, in Chinese, as Daxiongmao, the “large bear cat”. This bear-like animal has black fur on its ears, around its eyes and nose, on all of its legs, and across its shoulders; the rest of its body is white. Due to the distinctive appearance of the giant panda, this animal has long been considered a symbol of China. Giant pandas are found in the mountains of central China in the rainy bamboo forests of Shanxi, Gansu, and Sichuan. These mountains are covered in heavy clouds, and torrential rains, or dense mist, occur throughout the year. However, “Giant pandas now are an extremely rare mammal in the world, with probably less than 1,000 left in the wild” (Pretes 2009). There are two main causes of the giant panda becoming endangered: natural and human. The natural reason why the number of giant pandas is not large is that the reproductive capacity of the giant panda is much worse than that of any other mammal. Moreover, human destruction of habitat and poaching are two main threats to pandas. “The price of panda fur rises, which can bring up to $200,000 in Japan” (Kennedy 2000). However, many people are attempting to rescue these lovely creatures by using a variety of approaches. They are trying to increase the chances of the giant panda’s survival through the construction of natural reserves, the improvement of the panda’s reproductive capacity, and the support of conservation organizations. Building natural reserves to achieve habitat protection is an essential step for increasing the chance of the giant panda’s survival. Giant pandas, like all creatures, have certain requirements in order to live. A food source is vital to their survival; building natural reserves not only satisfies the food requirement, but also provides a habitat for pandas. Pandas usually stay in areas of fargesia bamboo, fir, and spruce forests because the supply of food and water are adequate, and the covert condition like tree coverage rate is relatively high. The most important food source for giant pandas is bamboo, which makes up 95 percent of their diet. “Bamboo contains very little nutritional value, so pandas must eat 12-38kg every day to meet their energy needs” (World wildlife fund). However, bamboo forests are dying and less and less people grow it “bamboo has become very expensive as local farmers no longer grow it because up until now there has been very little demand” (Kennedy 2000). which means that the giant panda’s main food may disappear suddenly. “Only about 1 percent of their diet is made up of other plants and meat” (World wildlife fund). Therefore, cultivating bamboo is significant for pandas. China has tried to grow bamboo in reserve areas in order to supply pandas’ consumption needs. At the same time, researchers in reserves create food sources that may provide alternatives to bamboo when bamboo is scarce. For example, they may combine rice, fruits, and honey together to provide enough vitamins for pandas. Foods availability is included as one factor for pandas’ habitat protection. The giant panda has two places to live: in the wild and in zoos. Most wild pandas live in natural reserves, where wildlife is protected by law and from where people can directly gather information about pandas. One conservation area for giant pandas is located in the Minshan Mountains in the southwest of Gansu province and the north of Sichuan province. This reserve, which has used least-cost modeling to incorporate satellite imagery and data on ecological and behavioral parameters, provides a conservation landscape for giant pandas. There are eight core habitats and four potential linkages. These habitats create an efficient reserve net for giant panda conservation. “The core habitats have an average density of 4.9 pandas per 100 square kilometers and contain...
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