Panda – adorable and endangered
Pandas look so nice and lovely, rather like huge soft furry toys. In any zoo they are always the center of attention. The Chinese name of this animal means “bear-cat”.
Pandas are white with black ears, black eye patches, black legs and a black stripe between their shoulders. And their coloring is the most striking thing. The scientists don’t know why they have such bold white and black markings. Other animals hide from the enemies thank to their coloring. But pandas have no enemies to hide from! The most popular explanation is that their coloring helps to find each other during mating season, because most of their time they spend wandering alone.
Pandas can weigh up to 115 kilograms and they are excellent swimmers.
They eat young bamboo stems and practically nothing else. These animals spend over 60% of their time eating! They can eat 10-16 hours a day, only stopping to walk a short distance or to sleep.
They used to live in China, Burma and Vietnam. The closest relative of the panda is spectacled bear, who lives in South America.
Pandas are peaceful, friendly and harmless, they have no enemies, but they are in danger. In fact, these animals have become one of the most endangered species. Why do pandas continue to disappear? Firstly, they have strikingly low reproductive rate. Strange as it may seem, a female panda may rear, at most, seven-eight cubs in her lifetime. Female pandas are very picky about their partners and often prefer naps to dating. Panda-cubs are born absolutely helpless and unusually small. They are the smallest newborns of any mammals – 85-100 grams.
Pandas strictly follow their bamboo diet, so when one part of the forest dies out there is a very real danger that with it will go the pandas. People have destroyed bamboo forests and driven pandas away from the places they lived in. But the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Chinese Government developed a conservation action plan. They try to preserve and if possible to increase panda population.
As the most attractive of the rare animals pandas are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
In China, the panda is declared a national treasure.
The red panda, also known as the lesser panda, has rust–colored fur with chocolate brown markings. The Chinese call this striking animal “firefox” because of its flame–colored fur.
Although it spends most of its time in trees, it feeds on the ground. Its diet consists mainly of bamboo leaves, but it also eats grasses, berries, fruits, roots, and other plant matter.
These beautiful animals live in cool bamboo forests of central China and the Himalayas.
Red pandas are very shy and usually live and hunt alone. They are wonderful tree jumpers, but they move slowly on the ground.
When the red panda sees an enemy, it tries to escape by climbing a tree. If it is unable to run away, it will stand on its hind legs to appear larger and defend itself with its sharp claws.