Rescue the giant pandas-they are symbol of endangered species worldwide
December 2, 2006 4:45am CST
The giant panda is universally loved, and of course has a special significance for WWF as it has been the organization's symbol since it was formed in 1961. Today, the giant panda's future remains uncertain. This peaceful, bamboo-eating member of the bear family faces a number of threats. Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest China, is fragmented and giant panda populations are small and isolated from each other. Meanwhile, poaching remains an ever-present threat. Over 50 reserves created By mid-2005, the Chinese government had established over 50 panda reserves, protecting more than 10,400km² and over 45% of remaining giant panda habitat. However, habitat destruction continues to pose a threat to the many pandas living outside these areas, and poaching is a further problem. Today, only around 61% of the population, or about 980 pandas, are under protection in reserves. As China's economy continues its rapid development, it is more important than ever to ensure the giant panda's survival. WWF on the ground WWF has been active in giant panda conservation since 1980, when it supported U.S. scientist Dr. George Schaller and his Chinese colleagues in field studies in the Wolong Nature Reserve. WWF was the first international conservation organization to work in China at the Chinese Government's invitation. More recently, WWF has been helping the government of China to undertake its National Conservation Programme for the giant panda and its habitat. This programme has made significant progress: Reserves for this species cover more than 16,000 km² of forest in and around their habitat. The latest survey (released in 2004) revealed that there are 1,600 individuals estimated to remain in the wild. Physical Description Species Description Pandas have a white coat with black fur around their eyes, on their ears, muzzle, legs and shoulders. The unique physical features of the species include broad, flat molars and an enlarged wrist bone that functions as an opposable thumb - both of these adaptations are used for holding, crushing and eating bamboo. Giant pandas are classified as bears and have the digestive system of a carnivore, but they have adapted to a vegetarian diet and depend almost exclusively on bamboo as a food source. Pandas live mainly on the ground but have the ability to climb trees as well. While the species does not hibernate, it often relocates to lower altitudes in the winter and spring. Size Giant pandas are about 150 cm long from nose to rump, with a 10-15 cm tail. A large adult panda can weigh about 100-150 kg, with males 10% larger and 20% heavier than females. Colour Distinctive black and white coat Habitat Major habitat type Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests Biogeographic realm Palearctic Range States China Geographical Location Southwest China (Gansu, Shaanxi, and Sichuan Provinces) to the east of the Tibetan plateau. Ecological Region Temperate Forests of the Upper Yangtze Why is this species important? Panda habitat is found at the top of the Yangtze Basin, an ecoregion shared by both pandas and millions of people whose ancestors have utilized the region's natural resources for millenia. The Basin is the geographic and economic heart of China, and is one of the critical regions for biodiversity conservation in the world. Its diverse habitats contain many rare, endemic and endangered animal and plant species, the best known being the giant panda. Economic benefits derived from the Yangtze Basin include tourism, subsistence fisheries and agriculture, transport, hydropower and water resources. The survival of the panda and the protection of its habitat will ensure that people living in the region continue to reap ecosystem benefits for many generations. Interesting Facts A giant panda may consume 12-38 kg of bamboo a day to meet its energy requirements. This is an article written to show everyone the importance of this symbol of endangered species-the Panda bear.May this article be the start in the campaign of rescuing the natural wildlife.
2 people like this
4 Mar 07
If you are willing to do something for the animals worldwide, not necessarely the panda, you can go to http://www.panda.org/how_you_can_help/campaign/passport/index.cfm After you join WWF Passport you will recieve newsletters of environment problems and you can sign petitions asking the authorities to solve these problems. It's free and you can do it from yur computer.