The Giant Panda is a creature of mystery. Adults and children alike appreciate it for its cute, fuzzy, lovable qualities, but it is an animal that is in desperate need of immediate attention. Scientists know the basics: how and what they eat, where and how they live, and how they reproduce. The fact remains, however, that this universally loved national symbol of China is facing the threat of extinction. What accounts for this fact and what can be or is being done to protect the panda from such a fate? This paper will discuss the characteristics and lifestyle of the panda as well as issues and questions that arise as a result of the threat of their extinction.
Pandas have made their homes in China for centuries; but because of increased development and forest clearing in the lowlands, they have been forced further and further into the mountain ranges over the years ((1)). They inhabit damp forests in those mountains that border on land that farmers increasingly wish to use ((6)). These forests have a dense understory of bamboo and are characterized by heavy rains and dense mist ((1)).
One problem facing pandas is their seeming difficulty in mating successfully. Females have a low frequency of ovulation (once a year in the spring) and the males demonstrate an infamous apathy toward females in heat ((2)). When mating is successful, the female giant panda will give birth, after 96 to 160 days, to a cub that is one-nine hundredth the size of her ((1)). Cubs open their eyes after six to eight weeks, nurse for about nine months, and stay with their mothers for up to three years before venturing out on their own ((1)).
Giant Pandas enjoy a simple lifestyle of sleeping, looking for food, and eating...
... middle of paper ...
...d Events, Giant Panda in the News
3)WWF Endangered Species, Panda conservation
4)WWF, Future Outlook of Giant Panda
5)CBS news, Chinese to clone pandas?
6)Everything you need to know about the Giant Panda, It's all here
7)China.org, Conservation programs for pandas
8)Space daily, Discusses warnings about replication
9)China through a lens, Experts who worry about cloning say why
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