Essay on Study of Giant Panda Digestion and Survival

Essay on Study of Giant Panda Digestion and Survival

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The giant panda is part of the Ursidae family and in the order of Carnivora. Animals that are in the order of Carnivora usually eat meat but the giant panda specializes in the herbivorous diet of bamboo. The giant panda has retained the typical monogastric carnivore digestive system which is typically short and has no special compartments to retain food or any symbiotic bacteria needed to break down cellulose from the bamboo into any usable nutrients. Since the giant panda is unable to digest cellulose and lacks the necessary symbiotic bacteria for the digestion of bamboo, they have to rely on mainly the cell content through a process where the bamboo is first eaten and then passed unaltered in the digestive tract in a very short time. The giant panda must eat a large amount of bamboo daily in order to meet their energy requirements.
In an article titled “Energy Digestibility of Giant Pandas on Bamboo-Only and on Supplemented Diets”, the goal of this study was to figure out the energy digestibility of bamboo by giant pandas using digestibility trials and through analysis using bomb calorimetry. An energy budget is a numerical statement that measures the amount of energy collected and the placement of the energy to various functions. Energy budgets can be described using the equation: E=M+P+U+F (where E is the total amount of energy consumed, M is the energy used for maintenance and activity, P is the energy used for production (which includes growth and reproduction), U is the energy lost in urine, and F is the energy lost in feces.). The total energy consumed minus the energy lost in feces is the digestible energy and shows the ability of the digestive system to process consumed food.
The majority of the bamboo plant consist...


... middle of paper ...


...ations and behavioral patterns of the giant panda can lead to more information into areas such as how their metabolism works and also strategies female pandas use while pregnant.



Works Cited

Dierenfeld, E.S., Hintz H.F., Robertson J.B., Van Soest P.J., Oftedal O.T. (1982), Utilization of bamboo by the giant panda. The Journal of Nutrition ,112(4):636-41.

Finley, T. G., Sikes, R. S., Parsons, J. L., Rude, B. J., Bissell, H. A. and Ouellette, J. R. (2011), Energy digestibility of giant pandas on bamboo-only and on supplemented diets. Zoo Biology, 30: 121–133.
Hansen, R. L., Carr, M. M., Apanavicius, C. J., Jiang, P., Bissell, H. A., Gocinski, B. L., Maury, F., Himmelreich, M., Beard, S., Ouellette, J. R. and Kouba, A. J. (2010), Seasonal shifts in giant panda feeding behavior: relationships to bamboo plant part consumption. Zoo Biology, 29: 470–483.

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