Imagine waking up in a bamboo forest of China. The mist of the clouds, hanging on the branches, and a Giant Panda looking back at you from a nearby tree!
These adorable Giant Pandas, however, are the rarest member of the bear family and among the world’s most threatened animals. Today, the Giant Panda’s future remains uncertain. There are only about 1000 of them left in the wild. Pandas do not have many offspring during their lifetime. They give birth to a single or two cubs at a time. Although the adults have few predators besides man, the cubs are very small and may be attacked by leopards. Another problem is their diet! Bamboo grows in large patches, and different types of bamboo flower in different years. Pandas must travel from one good patch to another to find food. Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest China, is increasingly fragmented by human encroachment. Habitat loss continues to occur outside the protected areas, while poaching continues to remain a threat. The sustainability of these animals is very difficult due to the fact that Pandas have no desire to mate once in captivity.
The Giant Panda also forms the logo of the WWF. WWF has played a vital role in the conservation of these species by increasing their area of habitat, creating bamboo patches, patrolling against poaching and illegal encroachment, etc. Options are also available to ‘Adopt a Panda’ and help save them from extinction. Thus, a combination of science, innovation, and community support helps to find ways to save animals and their habitats all over the world. Together, we can make a difference!
The extinction of at least 500 species of animals has been caused by man, most of them in this century. Today there are about 5,000 endangered animals and at least one species dies out every year. The number is rapidly growing, some species becoming endangered without most of us even knowing it. One such species is the Giant Panda.