Tokyo (Reuters Life!) – Amid tears, waves and goodbyes from fans, a Japanese-born giant panda set off for China from Tokyo Zoo on Tuesday (Feb 21). Xiang Xiang has been hugely popular since she was born at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo nearly six years ago. Under an agreement, pandas can be loaned to zoos around the world, but China retains ownership of all loaned bears and their offspring.
Do you know why pandas are sent back to China? Do you know about the cute panda? This article will tell you the answer.
Giant panda (scientific name: Ailuropoda melanoleuca): a mammal belonging to the genus Giant panda, family Bearidae. There are only two subspecies. Males are slightly larger than females. The body is plump and bear-like, rich and rich, with a rounded head and short tail, a head and body length of 1.2-1.8 m, and a tail length of 10-12 cm. The body weight is 80-120 kg, up to 180 kg, with black and white body color, round cheeks, a large “black eye”, the signature inside-out walking style, and also has scalpel-like claws. Giant pandas have thick skin, up to 10mm at its thickest point. Its black and white appearance facilitates concealment in dense forest trees and snowy ground and is not easily detected by natural predators.
They live in dense bamboo forests at altitudes of 2,600-3,500 meters, where the air is thin and cloudy all year round and the temperature is below 20°C. There is ample bamboo, and the distribution of terrain and water sources is conducive to the species building nests to hide and nurse their young. Giant pandas are good tree climbers and also love to play. The act of climbing trees is usually a way for the weaker ones to avoid the stronger ones when they meet each other, or to escape from danger near the courtship period. The giant panda spends half of its day eating and most of the remaining half in sleep. In the wild, pandas sleep for 2-4 hours between meals. 99% of the food of giant pandas is bamboo, and there are 12 genera and more than 60 species of bamboo plants available for giant pandas to eat. The lifespan of a giant panda in the wild is 18-20 years, and in captivity it can exceed 30 years.
The giant panda has been on earth for at least 8 million years and is known as a “living fossil” and “China’s national treasure”, i.e. the national animal, and is a flagship species for biodiversity conservation in the world. As of January 2021, the wild population of giant pandas in China has increased to 1,864 individuals.
The giant panda is endemic to China, with its main habitats being the mountainous regions of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu in China.
What do pandas eat?
Although classified as a carnivore, the giant panda’s diet consists mainly of bamboo, which contributed to their extinction as vast tracts of bamboo forests were cut down to make way for new highways and expanding urban sprawl. Wild pandas also forage for other types of grass and wild tubers, and occasionally prey on small birds and rodents. In addition to their favorite bamboo, captive pandas also like to eat fruit, yam and sugar cane.
Five Places to See Giant Pandas in Sichuan
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, one of the places to enjoy Sichuan giant pandas, is now a China AAAA tourist attraction and one of the endangered wildlife research bases in China. In order to give visitors a better understanding of the life and environment of giant pandas, the park has built a giant panda museum, a giant panda science exploration museum, a panda hospital, a panda kitchen and so on.
Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is one of the most suitable locations to see Sichuan pandas because it is located near Chengdu city and the traffic is very handled.
Location of the base: Panda Avenue, Outer North, Chenghua District, Chengdu.
Dujiangyan Panda Valley
Dujiangyan Panda Valley, also known as Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Dujiangyan Breeding and Wild Release Research Center, is a training center in China for captive-bred pandas to adapt to wild independent living habits, where pandas are wildly released back into the forest after wild training. Now the Dujiangyan Panda Valley is open to visitors, so this is one of the places to see Sichuan pandas as you can not only learn about their habits, but also hum what the wild pandas are like.
Address: 50 km from downtown Chengdu
Wolong Giant Panda Base
Wolong Giant Panda Base, known as “the best place in the world to enjoy giant pandas”, was built in the 1980s and is home to many giant panda stories. It is far from the city, but has very convenient transportation and a beautiful environment.
Dujiangyan Panda Park
Dujiangyan Panda Park, also known as Dujiangyan Chinese Giant Panda Park, is the only place in China where research on giant panda disease prevention and control, and field meetings are the main focus. After upgrading, the place is lush and green, cleverly integrated with the natural environment, creating a good living environment for giant panda production, and is worth seeing.
Scenic spot location: Chengdu Qingcheng Mountain Town Shiqiao Community Group 9
Transportation: Suitable for poor bus travel, also suitable for self-driving outings.
Ya’an Bifeng Gorge
Ya’an Bifengxia Scenic Area is home to the China Conservation Giant Panda Research Center, which is 150 kilometers away from maturity. The Giant Panda Research Center has not only built a scientific research center, a hospital, a breeding center, a giant panda nursery center, and a giant panda external display center, among others. In addition, Ya’an Bifengxia is also a AAAA tourist attraction in China, which is said to be related to Nuwa, and it is not only a place to enjoy learning about pandas, but also a summer resort around Chengdu.
Location: Biennia Scenic Area, Bifeng Town, Xiaoli Township, Ya’an, Sichuan
Suitable season: July, August, September and October are the best months, and it is recommended to visit for more than four hours.
Giant pandas are China’s “national treasure” and are loved by people all over the world because of their cute and naive appearance.
Conditions for leasing giant pandas
In addition to the expensive rent for leasing pandas, China has very high requirements for the climatic environment, feeding ability and conditions of the leasing country.
Environmental and climatic requirements
The panda is a moisture-loving animal, not afraid of cold, but very afraid of heat, so the environmental and climatic conditions of the country that wants to lease the giant panda must be in line with the growth habits of the giant panda.
Feeding capacity and condition requirements
As we all know, the food of giant pandas is mainly bamboo, and it must be fresh bamboo. If the local area does not produce bamboo, or the local output of bamboo is not liked by giant pandas, then the only way is to airlift bamboo from China.
Moreover, pandas have certain requirements for temperature and humidity in the garden, which require technical and financial support, and if the leasing country does not have these strengths, China will not lease pandas.
In addition to this, countries wishing to lease pandas must develop research programs that will benefit other wild pandas before leasing pandas, to assist in the successful implementation of China’s panda conservation programs.
China’s assessment of panda leasing is very strict, and sometimes even if the above conditions are met, it is not always possible to lease Chinese pandas, and currently only some developed countries are able to borrow them.
Who owns the cubs of a leased giant panda?
After a giant panda cub is born, the lender has to pay an additional US$600,000 to China every year, and the panda cub must be returned to China when it reaches 2-3 weeks old.
In the event of an accident, a certain amount of compensation will have to be paid, and the remains of the dead pandas will also belong to China.
The circumference of the circle