- By Means Elizabeth L
- Published 03/21/2011
Geographic Distribution Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China’s Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces. They once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing, and other development now restrict giant pandas to the mountains Diet Pandas eat bamboo. Since giant pandas have the digestive system of a carnivore, they do not have the ability to digest cellulose (plant matter) efficiently and thus derive little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. So, the average giant panda has to eat as much as 20 to 45 lbs (9-20 kg) of bamboo shoots a day. On occasion, giant pandas are also known to eat flowers, vines, tufted grasses, green corn, honey and rodents. Status The giant panda is listed as endangered in the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. It is one of the most critically endangered species in the world. There are about 1,000 left in the wild. About 140 pandas live in zoos and breeding centers around the world, mostly in China. Reasons For Hope The panda has become one of the most recognizable animals in the world and loved for its playful nature and unique coloring. For a long time very little was known about pandas in the wild but as technology becomes more advanced, researchers are able to learn more about pandas in their natural environment. This will help conservationists better understand what help is most necessary for the pandas continued survival. As pandas are what is known as a conservation reliant species, more than 160 pandas are located in zoos or breeding centers around the world in an effort to breed them and bolster their numbers.