There is evidence that giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) have been around for two to three million years. Pandas were thought to protect their owners from both bad spirits and natural calamities, thus ancient Chinese emperors often kept them as pets. There is a legend that dates back to ancient China that explains how gigantic pandas gained their distinctive markings. These pandas were overcome with grief after the death of a little girl who was a friend of one of the bears in their group. During her funeral, they cried their eyes out and wiped them with their arms. Their eyes were rubbed with the black hue that came from their armbands. The bears then huddled together and marked their rumps, ears, shoulders, and rear legs, producing the pattern that is still present today.
Today, pandas may be found in just a tiny portion of Asia, namely on the hilly slopes of Western China and restricted to the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu, and Shanxi in the central portion of the nation. They subsist on a diet that is largely made up of bamboo stalks. They have a severely restricted diet that can only be found in one particular environment. In point of fact, each unique habitat range barely accounts for around one square mile. It takes giant pandas anything from ten to twelve hours each day to eat enough food to sustain their massive bodies. It is commonly known that they eat in an upright stance, which frees up their forelegs so that they can manipulate the bamboo stalks more easily. As a result of the panda’s diet of bamboo, it has developed a number of unique traits. It has an additional finger on its hand, which it utilises to assist it in ripping the bamboo. In addition, this adaptation results in greater dexterity while working with bamboo. The walls of the stomach are particularly muscular to assist in the digestion of the woody diet, and a thick coating of mucus covers the digestive tract to protect it from splinters.
As a result of pandas helping to spread the seeds of bamboo, there is a strong relationship between the availability of bamboo and the number of giant pandas. But as the number of pandas decreases, so does the amount of bamboo, which makes it more difficult for pandas to obtain food. As a result of the disappearance of bamboo, the panda population is decreasing. There are only between 600 and 1000 wild pandas surviving in the world today. This is a relatively small population. Because of the high neonatal mortality rate, their continued existence is at grave risk, and as a result, they are classified as an endangered species.
As a result of their low population, zoos often only house a small number of pandas. As a show of goodwill and friendship in the year 1972, the government of China presented the United States with a male named Hsing-Hsing and a girl named Ling-Ling. The pandas travelled to the zoo in Washington, where they were able to have a fruitful mating experience. During the 1980s, Ling-Ling had three different pairs of twins born to her, but sadly, none of the cubs survived beyond the first few weeks of life. Due to the short duration of the mating phase (approximately 24 to 48 hours), the panda has an extremely low rate of successful reproduction. Both the Chinese and the Americans are making efforts to create effective artificial insemination programmes of captive pandas in order to increase the number of pandas overall. The success of these efforts is essential to maintaining any hope for the long-term survival of pandas.
It is possible for an adult Giant Panda to reach a height of up to 1 metre and a weight of up to 165 kilogrammes. Panda mothers give birth to a litter of two cubs once a year on average when they live in the wild. The infants have an approximate birth weight of 5 ounces and are born entirely white and blind. Giant panda babies, in contrast to the majority of other bears at birth, already have a thin coating of fur covering their bodies. The black spots first appear on the cub when it is around one month old. The eyes of newborn pandas open at the age of three weeks, but they are unable to walk about on their own for the first three to four months. When the cub is around six months old, it starts to consume bamboo, and when it is approximately nine months old, it has been completely weaned from its mother. In most cases, kids continue to live with their moms until they are around 1 and a half years old. The juvenile pandas weigh between 70 and 80 pounds by the time their first year is up. Pandas achieve adulthood between the ages of five and seven years, and they may live up to 25 years in the wild. Pandas are solitary animals with the exception of the months of March through May, which is their mating season. Giant Pandas, in contrast to bears, do not enter a state of dormancy throughout the wintertime. They consume a lot less calories, so they don’t get to the degree of body fat that’s necessary for hibernation. Nevertheless, during the winter months, they will go down to lower heights. The giant panda does not construct permanent burrows but rather seeks refuge in trees and caves. They spend most of their time on the ground, although they are able to climb well and swim as well.