This yr’s Olympic Winter Video games mascot, Bing Dwen Dwen, is a cute panda that wears a shell made out of ice. That is sensible because the big panda, additionally known as a panda or panda bear, is the nationwide animal of China. They even used an enormous panda as one among their mascots once they hosted the Olympics in 2008.
So why is the large panda so beloved in China? Apart from it being so cute, after all. Let’s get to know this black-and-white bear that makes its residence in just a few mountain ranges of south central China.
Pandas have nice camouflage
Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian play within the snow on the Washington Zoo, 2001. (Reuters Photographer)
Not like a zebra that has black and white pores and skin, it is the panda’s fur that’s black and white. Scientists do not fairly know why the panda bought its distinctive splotchy look. However they assume it makes nice camouflage (makes them mix in with their environment).
Since they spend most of their day on the lookout for meals, their colouring helps them keep away from predators. The white of their coats helps them conceal within the snow mountains. The black helps them mix into the shadows of thick bamboo.
Pandas do not hibernate
Panda Yi Yi takes a nap on the Nationwide Zoo in Malaysia, 2021. (Lim Huey Teng/Reuters)
Though big pandas are bears, they do not hibernate when it will get chilly like different bears do. Residing within the mountains, it snows within the winter and will get actually chilly. As an alternative of hunkering down for a deep sleep, pandas head down the mountains. There it is hotter they usually can hold munching on their bamboo.
Pandas have a thumb… form of
Whenever you watch an enormous panda consuming, it appears like they’re holding their bamboo dinner of their paws like a hand. That is as a result of they’ve an enlarged wrist bone that they use like a thumb. It has robust muscle groups so it will probably grasp the meals.
Pandas spend most of their day consuming
4-year-old big panda Hua Mei on the San Diego Zoo, simply earlier than heading out to the Wolong Nature Protect in China, 2004. (STR New/Reuter)
Virtually all the big panda’s food regimen is made up of bamboo. It is about 99 per cent of their food regimen. However it’s not very nutritious. And pandas have a choosy digestive system in order that they solely digest about 20 per cent of the bamboo.
In an effort to keep wholesome and have vitality, the large panda has to eat for many of the day. That may be so long as 12 hours. In that point, they will eat wherever from 12 to 38 kilograms of bamboo. That is like consuming 50 to 158 Huge Mac burgers!
Pandas poop loads!
A employee exhibits off an enormous panda scat on the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, 2012. (Russell Cheyne/Reuters)
Large pandas haven’t got a extremely good digestive system. So despite the fact that they eat loads (loads!) of bamboo each day, they cannot actually digest most of it. That makes for lots of waste, known as scat. How a lot? They’ll poop 40 to 50 occasions per day. They even poop once they sleep!
Good factor a few of this scat is being put to good use. Scientists can carry out analysis on it to study extra in regards to the panda’s food regimen.
Pandas are not endangered
A panda and her four-week-old cub on the Chengdu Panda Base, China. (Nir Elias/Reuters)
Large pandas naturally stay in solely a small space of China. And so they solely actually eat one sort of meals. People began to clear the bamboo forests the place pandas lived so they might put in roads and farms. With out their habitat or meals supply, the panda inhabitants began to go down.
However after 30 years of conservation efforts by China and world wide, their numbers have began to return again. There are panda nature reserves in China the place they’re protected. And on the Chengdu Panda Base, they analysis and breed the pandas to assist save the species. With all these efforts they have been bumped as much as “susceptible” on the Checklist of Threatened Species.