Giant panda

Giant panda
Giant panda at the Ocean Park Hong Kong
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[1]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ailuropoda
A. melanoleuca
Binomial name
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
David, 1869[2]
Giant panda range
Giant panda
"Panda" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters[3]
Traditional Chinese熊貓
Simplified Chinese熊猫
Literal meaning"bear cat"
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese貓熊
Simplified Chinese猫熊
Literal meaning"cat bear"

The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), sometimes called a panda bear or simply panda, is a bear species endemic to China.[4] It is characterised by its bold black-and-white coat and rotund body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the red panda, a neighboring musteloid. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore, with bamboo shoots and leaves making up more than 99% of its diet.[5] Giant pandas in the wild occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.[6][7]

The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan, and also in neighbouring Shaanxi and Gansu.[8] As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived, and it is a conservation-reliant vulnerable species.[9][10] A 2007 report showed 239 pandas living in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country.[11] By December 2014, 49 giant pandas lived in captivity outside China, living in 18 zoos in 13 countries.[12] Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild,[11] while a 2006 study via DNA analysis estimated that this figure could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000.[13] Some reports also show that the number of giant pandas in the wild is on the rise.[14] By March 2015, the wild giant panda population had increased to 1,864 individuals.[15] In 2016, it was reclassified on the IUCN Red List from "endangered" to "vulnerable",[1] affirming decade-long efforts to save the panda. In July 2021, Chinese authorities also reclassified the giant panda as vulnerable.[16]

The giant panda has often served as China's national symbol, appeared on Chinese Gold Panda coins since 1982 and as one of the five Fuwa mascots of the 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing.

  1. ^ a b c Swaisgood, R.; Wang, D. & Wei, F. (2017) [errata version of 2016 assessment]. "Ailuropoda melanoleuca". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T712A121745669. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  2. ^ David, A. (1869). "Voyage en Chine". Bulletin des Nouvelles Archives du Muséum. 5: 13.
  3. ^ Like the English "giant", the term ("large") is technically prefixed to the name "panda" in Chinese, but is not generally in everyday use.
  4. ^ Scheff, Duncan (2002). Giant Pandas. Animals of the rain forest (illustrated ed.). Heinemann-Raintree Library. p. 7. ISBN 0-7398-5529-8.
  5. ^ Quote: "Bamboo forms 99 percent of a panda's diet", "more than 99 percent of their diet is bamboo": p. 63 of Lumpkin & Seidensticker 2007 (as seen in the 2002 edition).
  6. ^ "Giant Panda". Discovery Communications, LLC. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Giant Pandas". National Zoological Park. Archived from the original on 3 June 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  8. ^ Scheff, D. (2002). Giant Pandas. Animals of the rain forest (illustrated ed.). Heinemann-Raintree Library. p. 8. ISBN 0-7398-5529-8.
  9. ^ "Global Species Programme – Giant panda". World Wildlife Fund. 14 November 2007. Archived from the original on 4 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  10. ^ "Four out of six great apes one step away from extinction – IUCN Red List". 4 September 2016. Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Number of pandas successfully bred in China down from last year". Xinhua News Agency. 8 November 2007. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
  12. ^ "Panda Zoos Around The World". Archived from the original on 2 January 2016.
  13. ^ Briggs, Helen (20 June 2006). "Hope for future of giant panda". BBC News. Archived from the original on 27 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
  14. ^ W., Lynne (July 2006). "Pandas, Inc". National Geographic Magazine. Archived from the original on 3 September 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Giant panda population rises by nearly 17 percent". Mongabay Environmental News. 2 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Giant pandas no longer endangered in the wild, China announces". the Guardian. 2021. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.

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