Wild Fact #947 – No Bamboo for You, Come Back One Year! – Giant Panda Bear

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When I say WWF, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Was it Hulk Hogan? Well, I was going for a panda bear which we all know is the symbol of the World Wildlife Federation.  Don’t get me wrong I liked wrestling back when I was a kid but we can’t keep thinking about it and besides their acronymn is now WWE!

So now that I managed to find some obscure way of letting you know that today’s fact has to do with the giant panda bear, let’s get on with the fun stuff.  Of course, giant panda bears are a large black and white bear with a round face that can be found in the mountains of central China or in zoos around the world.  Did you know that two of the characteristics I mentioned above has to do with the diet of the giant panda bear? First what is the diet of the panda bear? Well, the giant panda loves to eat bamboo.  That’s right about 99% of this bears diet are bamboo plants.  Does anyone know anything about the nutritional value of bamboo?  Really?  Why would you know anything about bamboo’s nutrional information.  I will tell you that there is not a whole lot of goodness coming from eating bamboo.  Due to the lack of nutrients in bamboo the giant panda has to eat a lot more of it.  Are you ready for this? The giant panda bear will consume about 28 pounds of bamboo per day!  This is why the panda will feed for about 12 hours out of every day.  So how does this food dictate some of the unique characteristics of the giant panda bear.  Well, they have a slower metabolism and lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle which makes them large. This lifestyle allows the panda bears to be able to survive on a poor diet.  Similarly, the panda has a round face due to the large, strong jaw muscles that attach the skull to the mouth.  As well, they have large molars capable of grinding their food.  Of course these eating traits are a result of feeding on a tough bamboo plant.

Another interesting feature of the giant panda is their thumb.  Well, technically, it is just an extension of their wrist bone but it acts like a thumb.  This comes in handy when they are busy plucking off 28 pounds of bamboo every day.  As well, this wrist extension helps the bear hitchike back up the moutain during the summer months.

These sure seem like fascinating bears don’t they?  It is unfortunate that there are roughly only 1000 giant panda bears remaining in the wild.  They are an endangered species as a result of habitat loss and a low reproductive rate. Some scientists believe that giant panda bears are unsavable due to the fact they live in a extremely populated country and feed on such a specific food.  If you don’t care about these scientists and would still like to try to and help the panda population then keep reading. The World Wildlife Federation has set up something called “Gifts for a Living Planet”.  You can make a donation to help preserve habitat for the giant panda here.  Just so you know, I am not encouraging my readers to donate to WWF and I am simply letting you know some of your options.

Well that was today’s fact!  I hope you have a good one!

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