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Even if you have been living under a rock for the past 100 years, you have probably still heard of our animal of the week! This chubby, loveable, white and black fuzz ball weighs in at an average 225lbs, and has become a huge conservation icon over the past couple of decades. It’s the Giant Panda, and they are one of the most recognizable animals on the planet. They are considered an umbrella species due to the enormous amount of other species the conservation of Giant Pandas protects. Extensive programs have been created in some of the world’s most renown zoos to help establish success in breeding Giant Pandas, and the Giant Panda has recently been moved from the endangered to threatened species list, which is great news defenders!

How many Giant Pandas are left in the wild?

The Giant Panda population was incredibly low in recent years with the WWF stating the numbers were near 1000 individuals in the 1970’s; however, Giant Panda populations have risen over the past 40 years and numbers are near 1900 individuals. This represents an increase in population size and a success in conservation programs for the Giant Panda Bear. With continued efforts we will hopefully continue to see a further rise in Giant Panda populations.

Can a Giant Panda climb?

There are lots of videos on the internet today that show Giant Pandas to be rather clumsy and goofy, as they have fun in their enclosures at zoos, which makes people wonder if they can climb or not.  Giant Pandas are capable of climbing and actually climb tree trunks very well. Their strong claws and arms allow them to climb straight up tree trunks, which is done to reach other forms of food and to escape danger and predators.

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What do Giant Pandas eat?

The Giant Panda is a very interesting animal, Defenders. Giant Pandas are actually built to be carnivores, but have evolved an herbivorous diet.  These amazing animals are in the bear family: Ursidae. They have teeth, skull structures, and digestive tracts meant for carnivores. Yet, the Giant Panda’s diet primarily consists of bamboo, and these little fatties can consume around 25 lbs of bamboo a day.  They have even evolved a special thumb for holding the bamboo they eat. Giants Panda will also eat other things like different plants and grasses along with the occasional meat items like carrion or rodents.

Do Pandas eat their own poop?

Well, we knew this question was coming. Giant Panda Bears do eat their own poop, but for a VERY good reason.  The adult Giant Pandas do not actually eat poop, but the babies do. Giant Pandas are born with no digestive bacteria in their guts and therefore need to chow on the poop of their mommas in the early stages of their life. This helps them to gather and retain the bacteria for themselves. This bacteria is specifically designed to help the Panda digest cellulose from the large amounts of bamboo they take in. They are also champion poopers and can poop around 45 times a day!!! It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if us humans pooped 45 times a day.

Do They Live In Groups?

Giant Panda Bears do not live in groups and prefer to be solitary. Giant Pandas do encounter each other and will do their best to defend their territories against other Giant Pandas if they are found near the centers of their territory. Female Pandas will use scents to mark their territory, which will draw males in during mating season. The time during breeding season is the rare time that Giant Pandas actually spend together. Male Giant Pandas do not even stick around when the cubs are born.

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How Long Do Live?

Giant Pandas have a relatively long life span and tend to live about 20 years in the wild.  According to multiple sources the general range for their life span is about 14-20 years. Giant Pandas tend to live longer in captivity with records of them living up to 30 years.

Well defenders, we hope you enjoy our newest animal of the week! Giant Pandas are an important animal in the world of wildlife conservation and we will continue to make great efforts in supporting this species.