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The Giant Panda
The Giant Panda is a peaceful and charismatic creature with its distinctive black and white coat. It is adored by the world and has become a national treasure in China. The panda is the rarest in the bear family and it lives mainly in the bamboo forest of China. Because of China’s dense and growing population the panda’s habitat and food source is being depleted as people move higher up the mountain slopes.
History Toward Extinction
Pandas must eat from 26 to 84 pounds of bamboo every day in order to get the nutrients they require to live. Pandas are also very picky eaters, and very much prefer to eat bamboo over other plants that are grown in the wild that they could consume and receive the necessary amount of nutrients. The use of bamboo for medicinal herbs, harvesting, furniture, and decoration by civilization reduces the amount of bamboo in the wild. This means that pandas are not able to get the necessary amount of bamboo they need to have to survive.
Currently, the Giant Panda’s habitat has been increasing because of development of new reserves and green corridors. Threats to the panda’s survival such as poaching and illegal logging have been significantly reduced. There are also projects to help people develop communities and peacefully co-exist with pandas. The work of the Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi provincial governments to ensure survival of the Giant Panda has raised hope that the panda will not be lost and will continue to exist in the wild for many generations to come. However, the IUCN’s Red List classifies the panda as endangered, because there population remains low, at 1600 pandas in the wild and about 300 in captivity, despite the recent increase habitat, threats to its habitat still remain.
In the next ten to twenty years, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will have set the following many targets for the Minshan Landscape. These targets are: no further decline of Giant Panda population; thirty percent expansion of the Giant Panda habitat; a reconnection of all Giant Panda habitats in the region; and a five percent increase in forest cover. The WWF will continue to work in the Minshan and Qinling mountains until all the targets afore mentioned are completed. They will also initiate new projects elsewhere in the panda habitats, such as the Xiangling or Qionglai Mountains.