Under the best of circumstances, a wild female panda can successfully raise a maximum of eight cubs during her lifetime. Pandas do not hibernate and spend most of their time searching for food and resting. Panda Life: Pandas are a unique species of bear in that they overwhelmingly depend on one food source. One way that being solitary helps it to survive has to do with food. The expanding Chinese population--along with road and railroad construction, dam building, rural and city expansion and tourism--continues to encroach on natural panda habitats. AAAS is a partner of HINARI, AGORA, OARE, CHORUS, CLOCKSS, CrossRef and COUNTER. It turns out the animals are just lazy. In a zoo, the zookeepers will often give the pandas dietary supplements, such as sugar cane, sweet potatoes and other items. Even with help from gut bugs, pandas don't derive much nutrition from bamboo—a panda digests just 17 percent of the 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 14 kilograms) of dry … Panda Cubs. Their fur has evolved to conform to the climate, landscape and foliage of their habitat. Sherry Gray started her writing career in 2010 when the company she worked for as a web developer began to fail. In the past they roamed a much larger area that included the lowlands, but human development drove them into the mountains and continues to threaten the wild population on unprotected lands. Wild pandas eat mostly bamboo with some other grasses and an occasional small animal for variety. Its distinctive black and white markings, fluffy coat and ponderous, waddling walk endear the giant panda to people all around the world. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 31, 2020 7:45:39 AM ET. Wild giant pandas inhabit a mountainous area in southwest China including Gansu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan provinces. In particular, pandas are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and by people hunting other animals and harvesting plants in the forests. The study helps explain how pandas survive on such a limited diet, says wildlife biologist Dajun Wang of Peking University in Beijing, who has worked on pandas in Qinling. If two pandas mate successfully, the gestation period is 95 to 160 days. On average, an adult panda eats 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo every day and spends up to 16 hours a day finding and eating food. Climate & Environment. Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are a type of bear, and they still retain a meat eater’s digestive system, with a simple stomach and a short small intestine. In fact, records from Qinling show that among 25 cases of dead or ill pandas over the past 37 years, more than half occurred in March and April, right after the hardships of winter. How do pandas survive in their habitat? This extra toe is crucial to the giant panda's survival, as 99 percent of the giant panda's diet consists of bamboo shoots and leaves. The Giant Panda's Head and Jaw Muscles Like other species of bear, the giant panda does not live in a pack--it is a solitary, territorial animal. The tracking collars revealed that during mating season in the spring, pandas fed on young wood bamboo shoots, which are rich in nitrogen and phosphorous. Several factors contribute to diminishing the wild panda population. In addition to human issues, the slow breeding cycle of the giant panda poses a natural problem. A new study reveals how these animals survive on a diet that should kill them. And it is here that WWF has focussed its giant panda conservation work, supporting the Chinese government's efforts to conserve the species. Deforested areas, roads and human habitation isolated small panda populations, reducing the available gene pool necessary for a healthy population. Gray feels finally putting her education to work was a great career choice. If two pandas mate successfully, the gestation period is 95 to 160 days. In college she majored in English, taking every writing and literature course available plus advertising and business. They don’t have a four-chambered stomach like a cow to digest plants efficiently, and a pure bamboo diet contains hardly any protein and a lot of indigestible fiber. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. A 90 kilogram panda burns less than half the energy of a human with the same weight, scientists have found. The cub stays with its mother for two to three years. Giant pandas can't continue to survive in the wild without human protection.