The Info List - Giant Panda

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The giant panda ( Ailuropoda
melanoleuca, literally "black and white cat-foot"; Chinese: 大熊猫; pinyin: dà xióng māo, literally "big bear cat"),[4] also known as panda bear or simply panda, is a bear[5] native to south central China.[1] It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda's diet is over 99% bamboo.[6] Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents, or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.[7][8] The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan, but also in neighbouring Shaanxi
and Gansu.[9] As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the giant panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. The giant panda is a conservation reliant vulnerable species.[10][11] A 2007 report showed 239 pandas living in captivity inside China
and another 27 outside the country.[12] As of December 2014, 49 giant pandas lived in captivity outside China, living in 18 zoos in 13 different countries.[13] Wild population estimates vary; one estimate shows that there are about 1,590 individuals living in the wild,[12] while a 2006 study via DNA
analysis estimated that this figure could be as high as 2,000 to 3,000.[14] Some reports also show that the number of giant pandas in the wild is on the rise.[15] In March 2015, Mongabay
stated that the wild giant panda population had increased by 268, or 16.8%, to 1,864.[16] In 2016, the IUCN
reclassified the species from "endangered" to "vulnerable".[11] While the dragon has often served as China's national symbol, internationally the giant panda appears at least as commonly.[citation needed] As such, it is becoming widely used within China
in international contexts, for example since 1982 issuing gold panda bullion coins or as one of the five Fuwa
mascots of the Beijing Olympics.


1 Taxonomy

1.1 Classification 1.2 Etymology 1.3 Subspecies

2 Description

2.1 Pathology 2.2 Genomics

3 Ecology

3.1 Diet 3.2 Predators

4 Behavior

4.1 Reproduction

5 Uses and human interaction

5.1 Early references 5.2 Western discovery 5.3 Panda diplomacy 5.4 Biofuel 5.5 Conservation 5.6 In zoos 5.7 Population chart 5.8 Reference in medicine 5.9 In cryptozoology

6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Taxonomy Classification For many decades, the precise taxonomic classification of the giant panda was under debate because it shares characteristics with both bears and raccoons.[17] However, molecular studies indicate the giant panda is a true bear, part of the family Ursidae.[5][18] These studies show it differentiated early (about 19 million years ago[19]) from the main ursine stock; since it is the most basal member of the group, it is equidistant from all other extant ursids.[20][19] The giant panda has been referred to as a living fossil.[21] Despite the shared name, habitat type, and diet, as well as a unique enlarged bone called the pseudo thumb (which helps them grip the bamboo shoots they eat) the giant panda and red panda are only distantly related. Etymology The word panda was borrowed into English from French, but no conclusive explanation of the origin of the French word panda has been found.[22] The closest candidate is the Nepali word ponya, possibly referring to the adapted wrist bone of the red panda, which is native to Nepal. The Western world originally applied this name to the red panda. Until 1901, when it was erroneously stated to be related to the red panda, the giant panda was known as "black and white cat-footed animal" (Ailuropus melanoleucus).[23]

Panda cubs

In many older encyclopedic sources, the name "panda" or "common panda" originally referred to the lesser-known red panda,[24] thus necessitating the inclusion of "giant" and "lesser/red" prefixes in front of the names. Even in 2013, the Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
still used "giant panda" or "panda bear" for the bear,[25] and simply "panda" for the Ailuridae,[26] despite the popular usage of the word "panda". Since the earliest collection of Chinese writings, the Chinese language has given the bear 20 different names, such as huāxióng (花熊 "spotted bear") and zhúxióng (竹熊 "bamboo bear").[27] The most popular names in China
today is dàxióngmāo (大熊貓 literally "giant bear cat"), or simply xióngmāo (熊貓 "bear cat"). The name xióngmāo (熊貓 "bear cat") was originally used to describe the red panda (Ailurus fulgens), but since giant panda was thought to be closely related to red panda, dàxióngmāo (大熊貓) was named relatively.[27] In Taiwan, another popular name for panda is the inverted dàmāoxióng (大貓熊 "giant cat bear"), though many encyclopediae and dictionaries in Taiwan
still use the "bear cat" form as the correct name. Some linguists argue, in this construction, "bear" instead of "cat" is the base noun, making this name more grammatically and logically correct, which may have led to the popular choice despite official writings.[27] This name did not gain its popularity until 1988, when a private zoo in Tainan
painted a sun bear black and white and created the Tainan
fake panda incident.[28][29] Subspecies

The Qinling panda
Qinling panda
has a light-brown and white pattern

Two subspecies of giant panda have been recognized on the basis of distinct cranial measurements, color patterns, and population genetics.[30]

The nominate subspecies Ailuropoda
melanoleuca consists of most extant populations of panda. These animals are principally found in Sichuan and display the typical stark black and white contrasting colors. The Qinling panda, A. m. qinlingensis[31] is restricted to the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi
at elevations of 1,300–3,000 m. The typical black and white pattern of Sichuan
giant pandas is replaced with a dark brown versus light brown pattern.[30] The skull of A. m. qinlingensis is smaller than its relatives, and it has larger molars.

A detailed study of the giant panda's genetic history from 2012[32] confirms that the separation of the Qinlin population occurred about 300,000 years ago, and reveals that the non-Qinlin population further diverged into two groups, named the Minshan
and the Qionglai-Daxiangling-Xiaoxiangling-Liangshan group respectively, about 2,800 years ago.[33] Description

The skull of giant panda at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The skeleton (left) and stuffed (right) of "Tong Tong", once bred in Ueno Zoo
Ueno Zoo
at the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

The giant panda has luxuriant black-and-white fur. Adults measure around 1.2 to 1.9 m (4 to 6 ft) long, including a tail of about 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in), and 60 to 90 cm (2.0 to 3.0 ft) tall at the shoulder.[34][35] Males can weigh up to 160 kg (350 lb).[36] Females (generally 10–20% smaller than males)[37] can weigh as little as 70 kg (150 lb), but can also weigh up to 125 kg (276 lb).[10][34][38] Average adult weight is 100 to 115 kg (220 to 254 lb).[39] The giant panda has a body shape typical of bears. It has black fur on its ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, arms and shoulders. The rest of the animal's coat is white. Although scientists do not know why these unusual bears are black and white, speculation suggests that the bold coloring provides effective camouflage in their shade-dappled snowy and rocky habitat.[40] The giant panda's thick, wooly coat keeps it warm in the cool forests of its habitat.[40] The panda's skull shape is typical of durophagous carnivorans. It has evolved from previous ancestors to exhibit larger molars with increased complexity and expanded temporal fossa.[41][42] A 110.45 kg (243.5 lb) giant panda has a 3D canine teeth bite force of 2603.47 newtons and bite force quotient of 292.[citation needed] Another study had a 117.5 kg (259 lb) giant panda bite of 1298.9 newtons (BFQ 151.4) at canine teeth and 1815.9 newtons (BFQ 141.8) at carnassial teeth.[43]

Bones of the left forelimb

The giant panda's paw has a "thumb" and five fingers; the "thumb" – actually a modified sesamoid bone – helps it to hold bamboo while eating.[44] Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
discusses this feature in his book of essays on evolution and biology, The Panda's Thumb. The giant panda's tail, measuring 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in), is the second-longest in the bear family. (The longest belongs to the sloth bear.)[37] The giant panda typically lives around 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.[45] A female named Jia Jia was the oldest giant panda ever in captivity, born in 1978 and died at an age of 38 on 16 October 2016.[46] Pathology

Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii
(arrow) in macrophages in the lung of a giant panda[47]

A seven-year-old female named Jin Yi died in 2014 in a zoo in Zhengzhou, China, after showing symptoms of gastroenteritis and respiratory disease. It was found that the cause of death was toxoplasmosis, a disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii
Toxoplasma gondii
and infecting most warm-blooded animals, including humans.[47] Genomics The giant panda genome was sequenced in 2009 using Illumina dye sequencing.[48] Its genome contains 20 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. Ecology Diet

Pandas eating bamboo.

Play media

Panda eating, standing, playing

Despite its taxonomic classification as a carnivoran, the giant panda's diet is primarily herbivorous, consisting almost exclusively of bamboo.[45] However, the giant panda still has the digestive system of a carnivore, as well as carnivore-specific genes,[49] and thus derives little energy and little protein from consumption of bamboo. Its ability to digest cellulose is ascribed to the microbes in its gut.[50][51] Pandas are born with sterile intestines, and require bacteria obtained from their mother's feces to digest vegetation.[52] The giant panda is a "highly specialized" animal with "unique adaptations", and has lived in bamboo forests for millions of years.[53] The average giant panda eats as much as 9 to 14 kg (20 to 30 lb) of bamboo shoots a day to compensate for the limited energy content of its diet. Ingestion of such a large quantity of material is possible because of the rapid passage of large amounts of indigestible plant material through the short, straight digestive tract.[54][55] It is also noted, however, that such rapid passage of digesta limits the potential of microbial digestion in the gastrointestinal tract,[54] limiting alternative forms of digestion. Given this voluminous diet, the giant panda defecates up to 40 times a day.[56] The limited energy input imposed on it by its diet has affected the panda's behavior. The giant panda tends to limit its social interactions and avoids steeply sloping terrain to limit its energy expenditures.[57] Two of the panda's most distinctive features, its large size and round face, are adaptations to its bamboo diet. Anthropologist Russell Ciochon observed: "[much] like the vegetarian gorilla, the low body surface area to body volume [of the giant panda] is indicative of a lower metabolic rate. This lower metabolic rate and a more sedentary lifestyle allows the giant panda to subsist on nutrient poor resources such as bamboo."[57] Similarly, the giant panda's round face is the result of powerful jaw muscles, which attach from the top of the head to the jaw.[57] Large molars crush and grind fibrous plant material. The morphological characteristics of extinct relatives of the giant panda suggest that while the ancient giant panda was omnivorous 7 million years ago (mya), it only became herbivorous some 2-2.4 mya with the emergence of A. microta.[58][59] Genome
sequencing of the giant panda suggests that the dietary switch could have initiated from the loss of the sole T1R1/T1R3 umami taste receptor, resulting from two frameshift mutations within the T1R1 exons.[60] Umami taste corresponds to high levels of glutamate as found in meat, and may have thus altered the food choice of the giant panda.[61] Although the pseudogenization of the umami taste receptor in Ailuropoda
coincides with the dietary switch to herbivory, it is likely a result of, and not the reason for, the dietary change.[59][60][61] The mutation time for the T1R1 gene in the giant panda is estimated to 4.2 mya[59] while fossil evidence indicates bamboo consumption in the giant panda species at least 7 mya,[58] signifying that although complete herbivory occurred around 2 mya, the dietary switch was initiated prior to T1R1 loss-of-function. Pandas eat any of 25 bamboo species in the wild, such as Fargesia dracocephala[62] and Fargesia rufa.[63] Only a few bamboo species are widespread at the high altitudes pandas now inhabit. Bamboo
leaves contain the highest protein levels; stems have less.[64] Because of the synchronous flowering, death, and regeneration of all bamboo within a species, the giant panda must have at least two different species available in its range to avoid starvation. While primarily herbivorous, the giant panda still retains decidedly ursine teeth, and will eat meat, fish, and eggs when available. In captivity, zoos typically maintain the giant panda's bamboo diet, though some will provide specially formulated biscuits or other dietary supplements.[65] Pandas will travel between different habitats if they need to, so they can get the nutrients that they need and to balance their diet for reproduction. For six years, scientists studied six pandas tagged with GPS collars at the Foping Reserve in the Qinling Mountains. They took note of their foraging and mating habits, and analysed samples of their food and feces. The pandas would move from the valleys into the Qinling Mountains
Qinling Mountains
and would only return to the valleys in autumn. During the summer months bamboo shoots rich in protein are only available at higher altitudes which causes low calcium rates in the pandas and during breeding season the pandas would trek back down to eat bamboo leaves rich in calcium.[66] Predators Although adult giant pandas have few natural predators other than humans, young cubs are vulnerable to attacks by snow leopards, yellow-throated martens,[67] eagles, feral dogs, and the Asian black bear. Sub-adults weighing up to 50 kg (110 lb) may be vulnerable to predation by leopards.[68] Behavior The giant panda is a terrestrial animal and primarily spends its life roaming and feeding in the bamboo forests of the Qinling Mountains
Qinling Mountains
and in the hilly province of Sichuan.[69] Giant pandas are generally solitary.[53] Each adult has a defined territory and a female is not tolerant of other females in her range. Social encounters occur primarily during the brief breeding season in which pandas in proximity to one another will gather.[70] After mating, the male leaves the female alone to raise the cub.[71] Pandas were thought to fall into the crepuscular category, those who are active twice a day, at dawn and dusk; however, Jindong Zhang found that pandas may belong to a category all of their own, with activity peaks in the morning, afternoon and midnight. Due to their sheer size, pandas do not need to fear predators like other herbivores. They can therefore be active at any time of the day.[72] Pandas communicate through vocalization and scent marking such as clawing trees or spraying urine.[10] They are able to climb and take shelter in hollow trees or rock crevices, but do not establish permanent dens. For this reason, pandas do not hibernate, which is similar to other subtropical mammals, and will instead move to elevations with warmer temperatures.[73] Pandas rely primarily on spatial memory rather than visual memory.[74] Though the panda is often assumed to be docile, it has been known to attack humans, presumably out of irritation rather than aggression.[75][76][77] Reproduction

A giant panda cub. At birth, the giant panda typically weighs 100 to 200 grams (​3 1⁄2 to 7 oz) and measures 15 to 17 centimeters (6 to 7 in) long.[78]

Initially, the primary method of breeding giant pandas in captivity was by artificial insemination, as they seemed to lose their interest in mating once they were captured.[79] This led some scientists to try extreme methods, such as showing them videos of giant pandas mating[80] and giving the males sildenafil (commonly known as "Viagra").[81] Only recently have researchers started having success with captive breeding programs, and they have now determined giant pandas have comparable breeding to some populations of the American black bear, a thriving bear species. The normal reproductive rate is considered to be one young every two years.[15][69]

Panda Research and Breeding Center in Chengdu.

Giant pandas reach sexual maturity between the ages of four and eight, and may be reproductive until age 20.[82] The mating season is between March and May, when a female goes into estrus, which lasts for two or three days and only occurs once a year.[83] When mating, the female is in a crouching, head-down position as the male mounts her from behind. Copulation time is short, ranging from 30 seconds to five minutes, but the male may mount her repeatedly to ensure successful fertilization. The gestation period ranges from 95 to 160 days.[83] Giant pandas give birth to twins in about half of pregnancies.[84] If twins are born, usually only one survives in the wild. The mother will select the stronger of the cubs, and the weaker will die. The mother is thought to be unable to produce enough milk for two cubs, since she does not store fat.[85] The father has no part in helping raise the cub. When the cub is first born, it is pink, blind, and toothless,[86] weighing only 90 to 130 grams (3.2 to 4.6 ounces), or about 1/800th of the mother's weight,[17] proportionally the smallest baby of any placental mammal.[87] It nurses from its mother's breast six to 14 times a day for up to 30 minutes at a time. For three to four hours, the mother may leave the den to feed, which leaves the cub defenseless. One to two weeks after birth, the cub's skin turns gray where its hair will eventually become black. A slight pink color may appear on cub's fur, as a result of a chemical reaction between the fur and its mother's saliva. A month after birth, the color pattern of the cub's fur is fully developed. Its fur is very soft and coarsens with age. The cub begins to crawl at 75 to 80 days;[17] mothers play with their cubs by rolling and wrestling with them. The cubs can eat small quantities of bamboo after six months,[88] though mother's milk remains the primary food source for most of the first year. Giant panda cubs weigh 45 kg (100 pounds) at one year, and live with their mothers until they are 18 months to two years old. The interval between births in the wild is generally two years. In July 2009, Chinese scientists confirmed the birth of the first cub to be successfully conceived through artificial insemination using frozen sperm.[89] The cub was born at 07:41 on 23 July that year in Sichuan
as the third cub of You You, an 11-year-old.[89][90][91] The technique for freezing the sperm in liquid nitrogen was first developed in 1980 and the first birth was hailed as a solution to the problem of lessening giant panda semen availability, which had led to inbreeding.[91][92] Panda semen, which can be frozen for decades, could be shared between different zoos to save the species.[89][90] It is expected that zoos in destinations such as San Diego in the United States and Mexico City
Mexico City
will now be able to provide their own semen to inseminate more giant pandas.[92] In August 2014, a rare birth of panda triplets was announced in China; it was the fourth of such births ever reported.[93] Attempts have also been made to reproduce giant pandas by interspecific pregnancy by implanting cloned panda embryos into the uterus of an animal of another species. This has resulted in panda fetuses, but no live births.[94] Uses and human interaction Early references In the past, pandas were thought to be rare and noble creatures – the Empress Dowager Bo
Empress Dowager Bo
was buried with a panda skull in her vault. The grandson of Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang
is said to have given Japan two pandas and a sheet of panda skin as a sign of goodwill. Unlike many other animals in Ancient China, pandas were rarely thought to have medical uses. The few known uses include the Sichuan
tribal peoples' use of panda urine to melt accidentally swallowed needles, and the use of panda pelts to control menses as described in the Qin Dynasty encyclopedia Erya.[95] The creature named mo (貘) mentioned in some ancient books has been interpreted as giant panda.[95] The dictionary Shuowen Jiezi
Shuowen Jiezi
(Eastern Han Dynasty) says that the mo, from Shu (Sichuan), is bear-like, but yellow-and-black,[96] although the older Erya
describes mo simply as a "white leopard".[97] The interpretation of the legendary fierce creature pixiu (貔貅) as referring to the giant panda is also common.[98] During the reign of the Yongle Emperor
Yongle Emperor
(early 15th century), his relative from Kaifeng
sent him a captured zouyu (騶虞), and another zouyu was sighted in Shandong. Zouyu is a legendary "righteous" animal, which, similarly to a qilin, only appears during the rule of a benevolent and sincere monarch. It is said to be fierce as a tiger, but gentle and strictly vegetarian, and described in some books as a white tiger with black spots. Puzzled about the real zoological identity of the creature captured during the Yongle era, J.J.L. Duyvendak exclaims, "Can it possibly have been a Pandah?"[99] The comparative obscurity of the giant panda throughout most of China's history is illustrated by the fact that, despite there being a number of depictions of bears in Chinese art
Chinese art
starting from its most ancient times, and the bamboo being one of the favorite subjects for Chinese painters, there are no known pre-20th-century artistic representations of giant pandas. Western discovery The West first learned of the giant panda on 11 March 1869, when the French missionary Armand David[17] received a skin from a hunter. The first Westerner known to have seen a living giant panda is the German zoologist Hugo Weigold, who purchased a cub in 1916. Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., became the first Westerners to shoot a panda, on an expedition funded by the Field Museum of Natural History
Field Museum of Natural History
in the 1920s. In 1936, Ruth Harkness
Ruth Harkness
became the first Westerner to bring back a live giant panda, a cub named Su Lin[100] which went to live at the Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
in Chicago. In 1938, five giant pandas were sent to London.[101][102] Activities such as these were halted because of wars; in subsequent decades, the West knew little of giant pandas.

Adult male giant panda

Panda diplomacy Main article: Panda diplomacy Gifts of giant pandas to American and Japanese zoos formed an important part of the diplomacy of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1970s, as it marked some of the first cultural exchanges between the PRC and the West. This practice has been termed "panda diplomacy". By 1984, however, pandas were no longer given as gifts. Instead, the PRC began to offer pandas to other nations only on 10-year loans, under terms including a fee of up to US$1,000,000 per year and a provision that any cubs born during the loan are the property of the PRC. Since 1998, because of a WWF lawsuit, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service only allows a US zoo to import a panda if the zoo can ensure the PRC will channel more than half of its loan fee into conservation efforts for the giant panda and its habitat. In May 2005, the PRC offered a breeding pair to Taiwan. The issue became embroiled in cross-Strait relations – both over the underlying symbolism, and over technical issues such as whether the transfer would be considered "domestic" or "international", or whether any true conservation purpose would be served by the exchange.[103] A contest in 2006 to name the pandas was held in the mainland, resulting in the politically charged names Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan
Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan
(from tuanyuan, meaning "reunion", i.e. "reunification"). PRC's offer was initially rejected by Chen Shui-bian, then President of Taiwan. However, when Ma Ying-jeou
Ma Ying-jeou
assumed the presidency in 2008, the offer was accepted, and the pandas arrived in December of that year.[104] Biofuel Microbes in panda waste are being investigated for their use in creating biofuels from bamboo and other plant materials.[105] Conservation The giant panda is a vulnerable species, threatened by continued habitat loss and habitat fragmentation,[106] and by a very low birthrate, both in the wild and in captivity.[45] Its range is currently confined to a small portion on the western edge of its historical range, which stretched through southern and eastern China, northern Myanmar, and northern Vietnam.[1] The giant panda has been a target of poaching by locals since ancient times and by foreigners since it was introduced to the West. Starting in the 1930s, foreigners were unable to poach giant pandas in China because of the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
and the Chinese Civil War, but pandas remained a source of soft furs for the locals. The population boom in China
after 1949 created stress on the pandas' habitat, and the subsequent famines led to the increased hunting of wildlife, including pandas. During the Cultural Revolution, all studies and conservation activities on the pandas were stopped. After the Chinese economic reform, demand for panda skins from Hong Kong and Japan led to illegal poaching for the black market, acts generally ignored by the local officials at the time.

Closeup of a seven-month-old panda cub

Though the Wolong National Nature Reserve
Wolong National Nature Reserve
was set up by the PRC government in 1958 to save the declining panda population, few advances in the conservation of pandas were made, owing to inexperience and insufficient knowledge of ecology. Many believed the best way to save the pandas was to cage them. As a result, pandas were caged at any sign of decline, and suffered from terrible conditions. Because of pollution and destruction of their natural habitat, along with segregation caused by caging, reproduction of wild pandas was severely limited. In the 1990s, however, several laws (including gun control and the removal of resident humans from the reserves) helped their chances of survival. With these renewed efforts and improved conservation methods, wild pandas have started to increase in numbers in some areas, though they still are classified as a rare species. In 2006, scientists reported that the number of pandas living in the wild may have been underestimated at about 1,000. Previous population surveys had used conventional methods to estimate the size of the wild panda population, but using a new method that analyzes DNA
from panda droppings, scientists believe the wild population may be as large as 3,000.[45] In 2006, there were 40 panda reserves in China, compared to just 13 reserves in 1998.[14] As the species has been reclassified to "vulnerable" since 2016, the conservation efforts are thought to be working. Furthermore, in response to this reclassification, the State Forestry Administration of China
announced that they would not accordingly lower the conservation level for panda, and would instead reinforce the conservation efforts.[107] The giant panda is among the world's most adored and protected rare animals, and is one of the few in the world whose natural inhabitant status was able to gain a UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
designation. The Sichuan
Giant Panda Sanctuaries, located in the southwest province of Sichuan
and covering seven natural reserves, were inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 2006.[108][109] Not all conservationists agree that the money spent on conserving pandas is well spent. Chris Packham
Chris Packham
has argued that the breeding of pandas in captivity is "pointless" because "there is not enough habitat left to sustain them".[110] Packham argues that the money spent on pandas would be better spent elsewhere,[110] and has said he would "eat the last panda if I could have all the money we have spent on panda conservation put back on the table for me to do more sensible things with",[111] though he has apologized for upsetting people who like pandas.[112] He points out, "The panda is possibly one of the grossest wastes of conservation money in the last half century."[111] However, a 2015 paper found that the giant panda can serve as an umbrella species as the preservation of their habitat also helps other endemic species in China, including 70% of the country's forest birds, 70% of mammals and 31% of amphibians.[113] In 2012, Earthwatch Institute, a global nonprofit that teams volunteers with scientists to conduct important environmental research, launched a program called "On the Trail of Giant Panda". This program, based in the Wolong National Nature Reserve, allows volunteers to work up close with pandas cared for in captivity, and help them adapt to life in the wild, so that they may breed, and live longer and healthier lives.[114] In zoos Main article: Giant pandas around the world Main article: List of giant pandas See also: Category:Individual giant pandas. Pandas have been kept in zoos as early as the Western Han Dynasty
Western Han Dynasty
in China, where the writer Sima Xiangru
Sima Xiangru
noted that the panda was the most treasured animal in the emperor's garden of exotic animals in the capital Chang'an
(present Xi'an). Not until the 1950s were pandas again recorded to have been exhibited in China's zoos.[115] Chi Chi at the London Zoo
became very popular. This influenced the World Wildlife Fund
World Wildlife Fund
to use a panda as its symbol.[116] A 2006 New York Times article[117] outlined the economics of keeping pandas, which costs five times more than that of the next most expensive animal, an elephant. American zoos generally pay the Chinese government $1 million a year in fees, as part of a typical ten-year contract. San Diego's contract with China
was to expire in 2008, but got a five-year extension at about half of the previous yearly cost.[118] The last contract, with the Memphis Zoo
in Memphis, Tennessee, ended in 2013.[117] Population chart

Year Wild[119] Change Captivity[53] Change Total Change

1976 1,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

1985 800–1,200 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

1987 >1,000 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

1994 1,200 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

1995 1,000 −200 n/a n/a n/a n/a

2003 1,596 +596 164[120] n/a 1,760 n/a

2012 n/a n/a 341[121] +178 n/a n/a

2013 1,864[122] +268 375[120][123] +34[123] 2,239 +479

Reference in medicine The Face of the Giant Panda Sign
Face of the Giant Panda Sign
is an MRI
sign in patients with Wilson's disease, named for the midbrain's resemblance to a giant panda's face. In cryptozoology Cryptozoologists use Giant Pandas as an example of an animal recently discovered by science. For example, Guy Edwards writes, "The Giant Panda was once as mythical and elusive as Bigfoot."[124] He adds that there are " many animals that symbolize the search for Bigfoot
is not over." [124] Skeptical cryptozoologist Joe Nickell, notes that since Giant Pandas were known to local people, they qualify as cryptids.[125] However, unlike Bigfoot, pandas specimens were quickly obtained after Armand David learned of them. Also, fossil evidence shows that pandas were once widespread, including the two million year old skull of Ailuropoda
microta[126] See also

Mammals portal

Red panda List of giant pandas Panda tea Pygmy giant panda Wildlife of China List of endangered and protected species of China



^ a b c Swaisgood, R.; Wang, D.; Wei, F. (2016). "Ailuropoda melanoleuca". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
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AFP (via Discovery Channel) (2006, 20 June). Panda Numbers Exceed Expectations. Associated Press (via CNN) (2006). Article link. Catton, Chris (1990). Pandas. Christopher Helm. Friends of the National Zoo
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External links

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
has media related to: Giant panda
Giant panda

has information related to Ailuropoda

BBC Nature: Giant panda
Giant panda
news, and video clips from BBC programmes past and present. Panda Pioneer: the release of the first captive-bred panda 'Xiang Xiang' in 2006 WWF – environmental conservation organization Pandas International – panda conservation group National Zoo
Live Panda Cams – Baby Panda Tai Shan and mother Mei Xiang Information from Animal
Diversity NPR News 2007/08/20 – Panda Romance Stems From Bamboo View the panda genome on Ensembl. Texts and pictures of the Panda exhibition at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

v t e

Extant Carnivora

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Infraclass: Eutheria Superorder: Laurasiatheria

Suborder Feliformia



African palm civet
African palm civet
(N. binotata)

Herpestidae (Mongooses)


Marsh mongoose
Marsh mongoose
(A. paludinosus)


Bushy-tailed mongoose
Bushy-tailed mongoose
(B. crassicauda) Jackson's mongoose
Jackson's mongoose
(B. jacksoni) Black-footed mongoose
Black-footed mongoose
(B. nigripes)


Alexander's kusimanse
Alexander's kusimanse
(C. alexandri) Angolan kusimanse
Angolan kusimanse
(C. ansorgei) Common kusimanse
Common kusimanse
(C. obscurus) Flat-headed kusimanse
Flat-headed kusimanse
(C. platycephalus)


Yellow mongoose
Yellow mongoose
(C. penicillata)


Pousargues's mongoose
Pousargues's mongoose
(D. dybowskii)


Angolan slender mongoose
Angolan slender mongoose
(G. flavescens) Black mongoose
Black mongoose
(G. nigrata) Somalian slender mongoose
Somalian slender mongoose
(G. ochracea) Cape gray mongoose
Cape gray mongoose
(G. pulverulenta) Slender mongoose
Slender mongoose
(G. sanguinea)


Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
Ethiopian dwarf mongoose
(H. hirtula) Common dwarf mongoose
Common dwarf mongoose
(H. parvula)


Short-tailed mongoose
Short-tailed mongoose
(H. brachyurus) Indian gray mongoose
Indian gray mongoose
(H. edwardsii) Indian brown mongoose
Indian brown mongoose
(H. fuscus) Egyptian mongoose
Egyptian mongoose
(H. ichneumon) Small Asian mongoose
Small Asian mongoose
(H. javanicus) Long-nosed mongoose
Long-nosed mongoose
(H. naso) Collared mongoose
Collared mongoose
(H. semitorquatus) Ruddy mongoose
Ruddy mongoose
(H. smithii) Crab-eating mongoose
Crab-eating mongoose
(H. urva) Stripe-necked mongoose
Stripe-necked mongoose
(H. vitticollis)


White-tailed mongoose
White-tailed mongoose
(I. albicauda)


Liberian mongoose
Liberian mongoose
(L. kuhni)


Gambian mongoose
Gambian mongoose
(M. gambianus) Banded mongoose
Banded mongoose
(M. mungo)


Selous' mongoose
Selous' mongoose
(P. selousi)


Meller's mongoose
Meller's mongoose
(R. melleri)


(S. suricatta)

Hyaenidae (Hyenas)


Spotted hyena
Spotted hyena
(C. crocuta)


Brown hyena
Brown hyena
(H. brunnea) Striped hyena
Striped hyena
(H. hyaena)


(P. cristatus)


Large family listed below


Large family listed below


Small family listed below

Family Felidae



(A. jubatus)


(C. caracal) African golden cat
African golden cat
(C. aurata)


Bay cat
Bay cat
(C. badia) Asian golden cat
Asian golden cat
(C. temminckii)


European wildcat
European wildcat
(F. silvestris) African wildcat
African wildcat
(F. lybica) Jungle cat
Jungle cat
(F. chaus) Black-footed cat
Black-footed cat
(F. nigripes) Sand cat
Sand cat
(F. margarita) Chinese mountain cat
Chinese mountain cat
(F. bieti) Domestic cat (F. catus)


(L. pardalis) Margay
(L. wiedii) Pampas cat
Pampas cat
(L. colocola) Geoffroy's cat
Geoffroy's cat
(L. geoffroyi) Kodkod
(L. guigna) Andean mountain cat
Andean mountain cat
(L. jacobita) Oncilla
(L. tigrinus) Southern tigrina
Southern tigrina
(L. guttulus)


(L. serval)


Canadian lynx (L. canadensis) Eurasian lynx
Eurasian lynx
(L. lynx) Iberian lynx
Iberian lynx
(L. pardinus) Bobcat
(L. rufus)


Pallas's cat
Pallas's cat
(O. manul)


Marbled cat
Marbled cat
(P. marmorata)


Fishing cat
Fishing cat
(P. viverrinus) Leopard
cat (P. bengalensis) Sundaland leopard cat (P. javanensis) Flat-headed cat
Flat-headed cat
(P. planiceps) Rusty-spotted cat
Rusty-spotted cat
(P. rubiginosus)


(P. concolor)


(H. yagouaroundi)



(P. leo) Jaguar
(P. onca) Leopard
(P. pardus) Tiger
(P. tigris) Snow leopard
Snow leopard
(P. uncia)


Clouded leopard
Clouded leopard
(N. nebulosa) Sunda clouded leopard
Sunda clouded leopard
(N. diardi)

Family Viverridae
(includes Civets)



(A. binturong)


Small-toothed palm civet
Small-toothed palm civet
(A. trivirgata)


Sulawesi palm civet
Sulawesi palm civet
(M. musschenbroekii)


Masked palm civet
Masked palm civet
(P. larvata)


Golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus) Asian palm civet
Asian palm civet
(P. hermaphroditus) Jerdon's palm civet (P. jerdoni) Golden palm civet
Golden palm civet
(P. zeylonensis)



Owston's palm civet
Owston's palm civet
(C. owstoni)


Otter civet
Otter civet
(C. bennettii)


Hose's palm civet
Hose's palm civet
(D. hosei)


Banded palm civet
Banded palm civet
(H. derbyanus)

Prionodontinae (Asiatic linsangs)


Banded linsang
Banded linsang
(P. linsang) Spotted linsang
Spotted linsang
(P. pardicolor)



African civet
African civet
(C. civetta)

Genetta (Genets)

Abyssinian genet
Abyssinian genet
(G. abyssinica) Angolan genet
Angolan genet
(G. angolensis) Bourlon's genet
Bourlon's genet
(G. bourloni) Crested servaline genet
Crested servaline genet
(G. cristata) Common genet
Common genet
(G. genetta) Johnston's genet
Johnston's genet
(G. johnstoni) Rusty-spotted genet
Rusty-spotted genet
(G. maculata) Pardine genet
Pardine genet
(G. pardina) Aquatic genet
Aquatic genet
(G. piscivora) King genet
King genet
(G. poensis) Servaline genet
Servaline genet
(G. servalina) Haussa genet
Haussa genet
(G. thierryi) Cape genet
Cape genet
(G. tigrina) Giant forest genet
Giant forest genet
(G. victoriae)


African linsang
African linsang
(P. richardsonii) Leighton's linsang
Leighton's linsang
(P. leightoni)


Malabar large-spotted civet
Malabar large-spotted civet
(V. civettina) Large-spotted civet
Large-spotted civet
(V. megaspila) Malayan civet
Malayan civet
(V. tangalunga) Large Indian civet
Large Indian civet
(V. zibetha)


Small Indian civet
Small Indian civet
(V. indica)

Family Eupleridae



Fossa (C. ferox)


Eastern falanouc
Eastern falanouc
(E. goudotii) Western falanouc (E. major)


Malagasy civet
Malagasy civet
(F. fossana)



Ring-tailed mongoose
Ring-tailed mongoose
(G. elegans)


Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
Broad-striped Malagasy mongoose
(G. fasciata) Grandidier's mongoose
Grandidier's mongoose
(G. grandidieri)


Narrow-striped mongoose
Narrow-striped mongoose
(M. decemlineata)


Brown-tailed mongoose
Brown-tailed mongoose
(S. concolor) Durrell's vontsira (S. durrelli)

Suborder Caniformia
(cont. below)

Ursidae (Bears)


Giant panda
Giant panda
(A. melanoleuca)


Sun bear
Sun bear
(H. malayanus)


Sloth bear
Sloth bear
(M. ursinus)


Spectacled bear
Spectacled bear
(T. ornatus)


American black bear
American black bear
(U. americanus) Brown bear
Brown bear
(U. arctos) Polar bear
Polar bear
(U. maritimus) Asian black bear
Asian black bear
(U. thibetanus)


Conepatus (Hog-nosed skunks)

Molina's hog-nosed skunk
Molina's hog-nosed skunk
(C. chinga) Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk
(C. humboldtii) American hog-nosed skunk
American hog-nosed skunk
(C. leuconotus) Striped hog-nosed skunk
Striped hog-nosed skunk
(C. semistriatus)


Hooded skunk
Hooded skunk
(M. macroura) Striped skunk
Striped skunk
(M. mephitis)


Sunda stink badger
Sunda stink badger
(M. javanensis) Palawan stink badger
Palawan stink badger
(M. marchei)

Spilogale (Spotted skunks)

Southern spotted skunk
Southern spotted skunk
(S. angustifrons) Western spotted skunk
Western spotted skunk
(S. gracilis) Eastern spotted skunk
Eastern spotted skunk
(S. putorius) Pygmy spotted skunk
Pygmy spotted skunk
(S. pygmaea)


Bassaricyon (Olingos)

Eastern lowland olingo
Eastern lowland olingo
(B. alleni) Northern olingo
Northern olingo
(B. gabbii) Western lowland olingo
Western lowland olingo
(B. medius) Olinguito
(B. neblina)


Ring-tailed cat
Ring-tailed cat
(B. astutus) Cacomistle
(B. sumichrasti)

Nasua (Coatis inclusive)

White-nosed coati
White-nosed coati
(N. narica) South American coati
South American coati
(N. nasua)

Nasuella (Coatis inclusive)

Western mountain coati (N. olivacea) Eastern mountain coati (N. meridensis)


(P. flavus)


Crab-eating raccoon
Crab-eating raccoon
(P. cancrivorus) Raccoon
(P. lotor) Cozumel raccoon
Cozumel raccoon
(P. pygmaeus)



Red panda
Red panda
(A. fulgens)

Suborder Caniformia
(cont. above)

Otariidae (Eared seals) (includes fur seals and sea lions) ( Pinniped


South American fur seal
South American fur seal
(A. australis) Australasian fur seal (A. forsteri) Galápagos fur seal
Galápagos fur seal
(A. galapagoensis) Antarctic fur seal
Antarctic fur seal
(A. gazella) Juan Fernández fur seal
Juan Fernández fur seal
(A. philippii) Brown fur seal
Brown fur seal
(A. pusillus) Guadalupe fur seal
Guadalupe fur seal
(A. townsendi) Subantarctic fur seal
Subantarctic fur seal
(A. tropicalis)


Northern fur seal
Northern fur seal
(C. ursinus)


Steller sea lion
Steller sea lion
(E. jubatus)


Australian sea lion
Australian sea lion
(N. cinerea)


South American sea lion
South American sea lion
(O. flavescens)


New Zealand sea lion
New Zealand sea lion
(P. hookeri)


California sea lion
California sea lion
(Z. californianus) Galápagos sea lion
Galápagos sea lion
(Z. wollebaeki)

Odobenidae ( Pinniped


(O. rosmarus)

Phocidae (Earless seals) ( Pinniped


Hooded seal
Hooded seal
(C. cristata)


Bearded seal
Bearded seal
(E. barbatus)


Gray seal (H. grypus)


Ribbon seal
Ribbon seal
(H. fasciata)


seal (H. leptonyx)


Weddell seal
Weddell seal
(L. weddellii)


Crabeater seal
Crabeater seal
(L. carcinophagus)

Mirounga (Elephant seals)

Northern elephant seal
Northern elephant seal
(M. angustirostris) Southern elephant seal
Southern elephant seal
(M. leonina)


Mediterranean monk seal
Mediterranean monk seal
(M. monachus) Hawaiian monk seal
Hawaiian monk seal
(M. schauinslandi)


Ross seal
Ross seal
(O. rossi)


Harp seal
Harp seal
(P. groenlandicus)


Spotted seal
Spotted seal
(P. largha) Harbor seal
Harbor seal
(P. vitulina)


Caspian seal
Caspian seal
(P. caspica) Ringed seal
Ringed seal
(P. hispida) Baikal seal
Baikal seal
(P. sibirica)


Large family listed below


Large family listed below

Family Canidae
(includes dogs)


Short-eared dog
Short-eared dog
(A. microtis)


Side-striped jackal
Side-striped jackal
(C. adustus) African golden wolf
African golden wolf
(C. anthus) Golden jackal
Golden jackal
(C. aureus) Coyote
(C. latrans) Gray wolf
Gray wolf
(C. lupus) Black-backed jackal
Black-backed jackal
(C. mesomelas) Red wolf
Red wolf
(C. rufus) Ethiopian wolf
Ethiopian wolf
(C. simensis)


Crab-eating fox
Crab-eating fox
(C. thous)


Maned wolf
Maned wolf
(C. brachyurus)


(C. alpinus)


(L. culpaeus) Darwin's fox
Darwin's fox
(L. fulvipes) South American gray fox
South American gray fox
(L. griseus) Pampas fox
Pampas fox
(L. gymnocercus) Sechuran fox
Sechuran fox
(L. sechurae) Hoary fox
Hoary fox
(L. vetulus)


African wild dog
African wild dog
(L. pictus)


dog (N. procyonoides)


Bat-eared fox
Bat-eared fox
(O. megalotis)


Bush dog
Bush dog
(S. venaticus)


Gray fox
Gray fox
(U. cinereoargenteus) Island fox
Island fox
(U. littoralis)

Vulpes (Foxes)

Bengal fox
Bengal fox
(V. bengalensis) Blanford's fox
Blanford's fox
(V. cana) Cape fox
Cape fox
(V. chama) Corsac fox
Corsac fox
(V. corsac) Tibetan sand fox
Tibetan sand fox
(V. ferrilata) Arctic fox
Arctic fox
(V. lagopus) Kit fox
Kit fox
(V. macrotis) Pale fox
Pale fox
(V. pallida) Rüppell's fox
Rüppell's fox
(V. rueppelli) Swift fox
Swift fox
(V. velox) Red fox
Red fox
(V. vulpes) Fennec fox
Fennec fox
(V. zerda)

Family Mustelidae

Lutrinae (Otters)


African clawless otter
African clawless otter
(A. capensis) Oriental small-clawed otter
Oriental small-clawed otter
(A. cinerea)


Sea otter
Sea otter
(E. lutris)


Spotted-necked otter
Spotted-necked otter
(H. maculicollis)


North American river otter
North American river otter
(L. canadensis) Marine otter
Marine otter
(L. felina) Neotropical otter
Neotropical otter
(L. longicaudis) Southern river otter
Southern river otter
(L. provocax)


Eurasian otter
Eurasian otter
(L. lutra) Hairy-nosed otter
Hairy-nosed otter
(L. sumatrana)


Smooth-coated otter
Smooth-coated otter
(L. perspicillata)


Giant otter
Giant otter
(P. brasiliensis)

Mustelinae (including badgers)


Hog badger
Hog badger
(A. collaris)


(E. barbara)


Lesser grison
Lesser grison
(G. cuja) Greater grison
Greater grison
(G. vittata)


(G. gulo)


Saharan striped polecat
Saharan striped polecat
(I. libyca) Striped polecat
Striped polecat
(I. striatus)


Patagonian weasel
Patagonian weasel
(L. patagonicus)

Martes (Martens)

American marten
American marten
(M. americana) Yellow-throated marten
Yellow-throated marten
(M. flavigula) Beech marten
Beech marten
(M. foina) Nilgiri marten
Nilgiri marten
(M. gwatkinsii) European pine marten
European pine marten
(M. martes) Japanese marten
Japanese marten
(M. melampus) Sable
(M. zibellina)


Fisher (P. pennanti)


Japanese badger
Japanese badger
(M. anakuma) Asian badger
Asian badger
(M. leucurus) European badger
European badger
(M. meles)


Honey badger
Honey badger
(M. capensis)

Melogale (Ferret-badgers)

Bornean ferret-badger
Bornean ferret-badger
(M. everetti) Chinese ferret-badger
Chinese ferret-badger
(M. moschata) Javan ferret-badger
Javan ferret-badger
(M. orientalis) Burmese ferret-badger
Burmese ferret-badger
(M. personata)

Mustela (Weasels and Ferrets)

Amazon weasel
Amazon weasel
(M. africana) Mountain weasel
Mountain weasel
(M. altaica) Stoat
(M. erminea) Steppe polecat
Steppe polecat
(M. eversmannii) Colombian weasel
Colombian weasel
(M. felipei) Long-tailed weasel
Long-tailed weasel
(M. frenata) Japanese weasel
Japanese weasel
(M. itatsi) Yellow-bellied weasel
Yellow-bellied weasel
(M. kathiah) European mink
European mink
(M. lutreola) Indonesian mountain weasel
Indonesian mountain weasel
(M. lutreolina) Black-footed ferret
Black-footed ferret
(M. nigripes) Least weasel
Least weasel
(M. nivalis) Malayan weasel
Malayan weasel
(M. nudipes) European polecat
European polecat
(M. putorius) Siberian weasel
Siberian weasel
(M. sibirica) Back-striped weasel
Back-striped weasel
(M. strigidorsa) Egyptian weasel
Egyptian weasel
(M. subpalmata)

Neovison (Minks)

American mink
American mink
(N. vison)


African striped weasel
African striped weasel
(P. albinucha)


American badger
American badger
(T. taxus)


Marbled polecat
Marbled polecat
(V. peregusna)

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q33602 ADW: Ailuropoda_melanoleuca ARKive: ailuropoda-melanoleuca EoL: 328070 Fossilworks: 104016 GBIF: 2433399 ITIS: 621845 IUCN: 712 MSW: 14000941 NCBI: 9646 Species+: 3057

Authority control

GND: 42697