Giant Panda Conservation
Did you know that the giant panda is an Endangered Species? While they are classed as carnivores, they have adapted to a vegetarian diet eating predominantly bamboo. Apart from their dependence on bamboo, the giant panda has a low birth rate of one cub every two years. These creatures play a crucial role in nature by spreading seeds and facilitating the growth of vegetation in the wild. While they do have natural predators, jackals, leopards, and the yellow-throated marten which eats their young, their most deadly predator is man. At one time giant pandas were much more widespread in China. Now they live in a few mountain ranges in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Human encroachment has driven the species from lowland areas to the mountains. The good news is that with renewed conservation efforts and the increase in protected reserves, from 27 to now 67, the number of giant pandas has begun to increase in some areas. The latest census in 2015 put out by China’s State Forestry Administration estimates that there are approximately 1,864 pandas living in the wild which is up by 268 animals when they were last surveyed in 2003.
What the Toronto Zoo is doing to support giant panda conservation? The Toronto Zoo supports a bamboo and habitat restoration project in China through the Endangered Species Reserve Fund in collaboration with the Memphis Zoo. As well the Toronto Zoo employs a Reproductive Physiologist who not only investigates ways to improve the reproduction of endangered species, she will utilize her expertise for our very own breeding program for Er Shun and Da Mao.
To learn more about giant pandas, click here