Where do pandas live? Giant panda and red panda habitat, plus other facts about the animals
The giant panda, or panda bear, is known for its distinct black-and-white body and propensity of eating bamboo by the bunch. The panda is considered a national treasure in China, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
These solitary creatures spend around 10 to 16 hours a day foraging and eating food. They can be found sleeping and resting during the remaining time of the day, according to Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conversation Biology Institute.
But where can you find a panda doing these action in the wild? Here is what you need to know about where giant and red pandas live, plus if the species are still endangered.
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Where do pandas live?
Giant pandas live mainly intemperate forests in the mountains of southwest China, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces are home to these mountain ranges, says Smithsonian. The Yangtze Basin region contains a majority of pandas’ primary habitat.
These animals used to live in lowland areas, however farming, forest clearing and other development have changed the habitat of giant pandas.
Giant pandas live in broadleaf and coniferous forests with a dense understories of bamboo. These forests are at elevations ranging between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, says Smithsonian.
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Where do red pandas live?
Nearly half of red pandas’ habitat is in the Eastern Himalayas, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature. This spans from northern Myanmar (Burma) to the west Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces of China, says Smithsonian. Additionally, red pandas can be found in Nepal, India and Tibet.
Red pandas live in high-altitude, temperate forests similar to giant pandas.
Are pandas bears?
Yes, giant pandas are bears. Giant pandas are the rarest member of the bear family and among the world’s most threatened animals, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Males of this black-and-white bear species can weigh up to 250 pounds in the wild, while females generally weigh under 220 pounds. On all fours, giant pandas stand between two and three feet tall at the shoulder, and they are generally four to six feet in length.
These bears consume anywhere from 70 to 100 pounds of bamboo each day to get sufficient nutrients, says Smithsonian.
Red pandas, on the other hand, are not bears. Instead, they are of the Ailuridae family. The red panda is the sole living species in this family.
The Ailuridae family is a part of the Musteloidea superfamily, which also contains skunks, raccoons, weasels and other-like animal.
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Are pandas endangered?
Giant pandas are no longer considered endangered and are classified as “vulnerable” on the global list of species at risk of extinction, says the World Wide Fund for Nature. This change came after the species saw a population growth of nearly 17% over the decade.
However, giant pandas are not fully in the clear. Their habitat is still at risk loss as infrastructure development continues to break up and isolate panda populations.
Only 54% of total habitat area is protected in more than 50 panda reserves created by the Chinese government with only around 67% of the total wild panda population living in these reserves.
There are approximately 1,864 giant pandas left in the wild, says the World Wide Fund for Nature.
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