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Transcript of Pandas
What do they eat?
A giant pandas diet mainly consists of almost entirely of the leaves, stems, and shoots of various bamboo species.
Pandas need to eat around 12-39 kg. of bamboo everyday in order to live.
Only about 1% of their diet is made up of other plants and meat. Occasionally the panda will hunt for pikas and other small rodents.
Since they will often rely on living close to areas where bamboo is abundant. This leaves them vulnerable to any loss of bamboo habitat, a key threat to their survival.
Where do they live?
Pandas live mainly bamboo forests high in the mountains of western China.
The panda's habitat surrounds the great Sichuan Plain. To the north are the Qinling Mountains and to the west are the Minshan, Qionglai, Liangshan, Daxiangling, and Xiaoxiangling Mountains.
Most of the wild population of the pandas are being distributed between the Qinling and Minshan Mountains.
Why are giant pandas endangered?
Generalist or specialist?
Common name: Panda
Scientific name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Population: 1600 in the wild
Extinction classification: Endangered
Habitat: Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests of Southwest China
Has a mutual relationship with bacteria in its stomach which help to digest food. The bacteria benefit by getting food to eat.
Has a parasitic relationship with round worms. The round worms benefit by stealing the nutrients stored in the giant pandas. While the giant panda doesn't get any nutrition thus harmed. These are obtained when pandas walk through feces that contain roundworm eggs or lick their paws with infected material.
One reason for their decline is habitat loss. Forest destruction, road and railroad increasing are other reasons for their declining.
Roads and railroads are increasingly damaging the forests, which isolates panda populations and prevents mating. Forest destruction also reduces pandas’ access to the bamboo they need to survive.
Hunting is another reason why giant pandas are endangered. Poaching for their fur was common in China, till the government placed a strict law involving poaching. But other animals hunted in the pandas habitat; sometimes pandas are accidentally killed because of this hunting.
Broad or Narrow Niche?
Giant pandas are specialists. They strongly depend on bamboo which makes up most of their diet. If bamboo forests are cleared they lose their habitat and their staple food. This leaves them vulnerable to extinction.
Their niche is narrow because they don't have much roles in the ecosystem
To eat bamboo, a producer.
To be eaten by their major predator, snow leopards.
To distribute bamboo seeds through their feces.
Pandas start breeding usually in spring.
Their gestation period is 5 months in average, it can vary from 83 - 324 days.
An average female panda lays between one 1 - 2 cubs in litter.
They have a large jaw, which are required to eat and chew bamboo.
They have a special digestive system which stops bamboo from ripping and tearing.
They have six toes and thumbs which allow them to rip and tear the leaves off the stem.
One of their behavioral adaptations is to follow bamboo forests, in search of bamboo.
Another behavioral adaptation is to climb trees when predators approach the vicinity.