Giant Pandas Legends Habitat Diet Breeding Conservation

Conservation

The China government has made the poaching of giant pandas illegal and anyone found trapping them will be imprisoned.

Giant pandas are the rarest member of the bear family and among the world's most threatened animals. There are fewer than 1,600 giant pandas left in the wild and only about 300 giant pandas in zoos and breeding centres.

The biggest threats faced by giant pandas today are mainly caused by humans. Habitat loss continues to be a large culprit of their survivability. Human activities such as logging, agriculture and urban development have taken away the pandas' precious forest areas and since 1974, panda habitats in Sichuan, China, have shrunk by over 50%. Giant pandas also face the threat of being trapped by illegal poachers - albeit unintentionally - they get caught in snares set up for other animals like the musk deer and black bear.

Another threat is a lack of food sources. With a 99% bamboo diet, giant pandas face a huge problem if there is a shortage of this plant. An unusual phenomenon known as the "bamboo die-off" occurs every 30 to 120 years when all the bamboo plants of a species flower at the same time and die soon after. When this happens, pandas in affected areas must travel to other parts of the forests to find new food. However, because the paths are obstructed by human activities, the pandas are not able to venture farther for food.

But while humans destroy, we can also do our part to protect.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is a strong advocate of wildlife conservation and will be the first in the tropics to exhibit and study the giant panda. With Kai Kai and Jia Jia's arrival to Singapore, WRS aims to educate visitors about the plight of these gentle giants. WRS is also working with the Ya'an base of China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda to breed this endangered animal. At the same time, the team will also embark on behavioural observational studies to determine the activity cycles of male and female pandas in captivity. WRS will also take on hormonal studies and dietary-related research to further add to the global knowledge of giant pandas.