How the Giant Panda Almost Got Extinct

china and the giant panda extinction saved
Photo Credit: worldwildlife.org

The beautiful big black and white colored giant panda with thick hair that shields it from cold is one of the world’s most beloved and famous animal, as it has featured, in movies, books and cartoons especially the comic martial “Konfu Panda” cartoon movie but yet it has suffered a great deal of misdeed from so many factors, putting it in an endangered spot in 1990 but that changed in 2006, drawing a new status of the IUCN as a “Vulnerable specie”.  Now, what factors could have led the pandas to the endangered list, and how were they able to bounce out of it to the vulnerability state in the IUCN watch book?  But Let’s talk about the Famous giant panda a bit and why it is so famous.
 
saved from extinction by the Chinese government
Photo Credit: time.com

The Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is native to mountain forest of southwest china. With a distinctive black and white coloring, their eyes, ears, muzzles, shoulders
and leg are black while every other part of their body is white. Although they belong to the order carnivore, their main diet which makes up 99% of their feeding culture is bamboo. Bamboo is not too rich in nutrient and that’s why the giant panda consumes 20-40 bamboos a day, they can as well feed on fish, egg and rodent but this barely makes 1% of their diet. In captivity, they are compelled to feed on whatever they are fed.
They have a protruding wrist bone, a pseudo thumb, an adaptive feature that helps them grab bamboo while they munch on it. Panders reach sexual maturity between 4-8 years and may reproduce until the age of 20 years. Gestation period is usually from 95 to 160 days.
 
china and the giant panda endangered extinction saved
Photo Credit: csmonitor.com

Now, let’s see what led the giant panda to the endangered list in the first place

Deforestation: this is the major cause of reduction in the population of the giant panda. Humanactivities in the 80s altered their natural habitat, destroying the forest and bamboos in a bid to build more houses and develop lands, forcing the giant panda to starvation and death.

Reproduction: A mother bear can give birth to 3 cubs but sadly, she will give attention to just one forcing the other two to malnutrition and possible death, this is because their basic bamboo diet has not enough nutrient to support a lactating mother and her 3 cubs.

Poaching: Poaching has always been a major problem in the animal kingdom. Illegal hunting of the giant panda for their fur, bones, skins has contributed effectively in reducing their population.

Adaptation: some animals adapt perfectly well outside their habitat, like the raccoon. Sad enough, the giant panda cannot adapt very well outside its natural habitat even when put in captivity.

So how where they able to bounce out of the danger zone?

Panda Population increased by Chinese government conservation program
Photo Credit: time.com
Since 1940, TheChinese has put efforts to conserve the habitat of the giant pandas. Today there are more than 67 panda reserves in the country breeding them in captivity.

The census taken in 2014 has indicated a 17% increase in population since 2003. Now the total number of pandas found in the wild has now reach 1864 individuals. Furthermore, reforestation has increased the occupied habitat by 11.8% and useable habitat by 6.3%.

The Chinese government has put up more conservation programmes to ensure push up in the panda population and some other organizations like the world wild life are still putting efforts together to ensure that the Giant panda doesn’t rest on the vulnerability status but  totally safe from extinction.



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