Pandas: The Un”bear”ably Cute Fluff of Nature

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Pandas are ridiculously adorable and have been capturing hearts around the world. They are strong and lean, fluffy, and arguably the cutest bears in the world… But they are not the most easiest or the most contained bears in the animal kingdom.

Pandas can be found all over the world (mostly), but they all actually belong to China. All pandas in foreign zoos have nannies (panda specialists) from China. Breeding pandas is incredibly hard. Many countries have tried and have failed. China gets to retain ownership of all pandas because it is the only country in the world with a panda research centre and a breeding base.

Pandas have also been a symbol of peace in China for centuries, hundreds of years ago warring tribes in China would not wave the white flag if need be, but instead, they would raise a flag with a panda picture on it to declare a truce.

This endangered species has just over 2000 pandas left in the world, scientists are hoping to increase the wild panda population to hopefully, 5000 by the year 2025.

Pandas have been known through movies like Kung Fu Panda and others to be someone who knows how to enjoy a meal. 99% of a Panda’s diet consists of eating bamboo. A fully grown panda has to eat as much as 35KGs of bamboo per day in order to meet its daily nutritional needs. Luckily a giant panda can peel and eat a bamboo shoot in about 40 seconds, so reaching such tremendous weight in bamboo is not the most difficult task for them to achieve.

With the heavy diet of mainly bamboo, comes the fact that pandas can poop over 40 times a day, combine that with the fact that they spend between 14 to 16 hours a day eating bamboo and you can basically figure out how their days are spent.

DID YOU KNOW: A group of pandas is called an “embarrassment.”

So why are the pandas busy dying out? Well, poaching is a cause for sure, but also the fact that female pandas are only fertile for up to three days a year. This is a very narrow period for the magic to happen. The mating process needs to happen and needs to happen fast. Once they have mated the female then tends to throw the male of her territory and raise the cubs on her own. Considering the giant size of some pandas, it is quite adorable to notice that a newborn panda weighs less than your average iPhone.

 a giant panda baby is the smallest mammal newborn relative to its mother’s size

Even though adorable, more than 60% of pandas born in captivity die within a week. But, let’s focus on some more fun facts about the panda.

Pandas do not run fast, they have more of a slow trot as fast as they can go. They are pigeon-toed which means they walk with their front paws turned inwards.

Young pandas tend to stay with their mothers for as long as three years, which means that many wild animals would actually spend their entire lifetime raising only three or four cubs in their lifetime since pandas’ life spans are typically between 15 to 20 years.

In the end, this magnificent animal, a survivor of the ice age and centuries beyond, is now in grave danger of extinction. This is why it is crucial to the survival of the species that we protect pandas at all costs. That each animal, those in captivity and in the wild, must be attended to on a daily basis if they are sick or injured.

Shaun Zietsman

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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