Living at an altitude of 4,000 feet in damp, misty forests of bamboo and conifers of southwestern China are 300 pounds of adorable black and white bears known as Panda bears. Panda bears originated thousands of years ago and considered to be a natural treasure in the Chinese culture. A lot of times you will hear the Chinese call their Pandas large bear cats, this is due to their unique eyes that are not like a normal bear. A normal bear has round pupils, but the Panda has vertical slits, just like cats eyes do. Large bear cat is just one of over 30,000 names that the Panda has had in its lifetime.
At a glance, the Panda looks like a huge, quiet, adorable, and cuddly black and white teddy bear, but in reality they can roar, growl, huff, bark, and honk quite loudly. Nine times out of ten, these noises are done in a friendly and playful tone.
The black and white colors of the Panda are causing quite a bit of controversy among scientists. There are several theories out that stating that the Panda developed the black and white colors over time so that they could stand out in the forest. Many other scientists believe that over thousands of years the Panda has always been black and white and there have been no severe evolution changes.
A normal Panda bear can weigh up to and over 300 pounds. This big teddy bear loves to eat bamboo and will do so for at least 12 hours each day, that's about 40 pounds of bamboo a day! Bamboo is not the only items on the Panda's menu; they have also been known to eat many fruits, insects, and even rodents! Normally the female Panda weighs about a hundred pounds less than the male; however both genders grow about five feet in height. If you ever have the pleasure of seeing a baby Panda, you'll never believe that it can grow up to 300 pounds and 5 feet tall, this is because little baby Pandas only weigh about four ounces at birth.
Even though Pandas seem to be harmless and cuddly, they have been known to attack humans. Most of these cases are when humans have found their way into the animal's exhibits at local's zoo's believing that the animals are harmless, however when Pandas feel threatened or if their personal space is violated they can become violent and like all animals, follow their instincts to attack.
Pandas are ranking very high on the endangered species list. There are only about one thousand pandas left in the wild and about one hundred of them live in zoos. Besides man being the man reason why these animals are on the endangered list due to the growing popularity in hunting for their furs, when Pandas give birth to a cub or two, they cannot care for both babies, therefore abandoning one cub and caring for the other. Being born at barely 4 ounces, blind, and not able to crawl at least until three months old, the abandoned cub has a slim to none chance of surviving in the wild.
The good news is, the Chinese government has set aside over twelve different nature preserves where bamboo flourishes and the Pandas are know to live. This habitat is protected and will not be open for development by people or other animals. By doing this it gives the Pandas their own habitats to spread and find mates in order to increase the Panda population. During the last twenty years, it has been determined that Pandas do not seem to mate as often in captivity as they would out in the wild. Humans have tried all different tactics, even as going as far as giving the Pandas Viagra, but nothing is successful.
All and all, the Panda, even though its population is slim, is still alive and kicking as well as looked upon as a wondrous animal that needs to be saved. With the combination of science and the heart of those that care, every little bit of help and support will find a way to help save the Panda and help to make their habitats flourish all over the world.