Threats to the Survival of the Giant Panda
There are three principal threats to the ongoing survival of the Giant Panda:
Loss of Habitat
Wild Giant Pandas are found only in a number of relatively small areas within China. China has the
largest human population of any country in the world, and the expansion of areas used by humans
can inevitably mean that less space is available for Pandas. The lifecycle of the Pandas' principal
source of food, the bamboo plant, means that Pandas need to be able to move from area to area over time.
This means that a much larger territory is required to support a wild Giant Panda than many other animals.
Low Rates of Reproduction
The breeding season for Pandas is limited to only a few days a year, at which time male Pandas will seek
a female to mate with. Adult Pandas will typically spend most of the rest of the year alone.
Like many large mammals the female Panda will give birth to only 1 or 2 offspring, which are very small
and defenseless at birth (measuring only a few centimeters in length!). In the wild however, where two cubs are born the
mother will usually raise only one and abandon the other. In captivity, humans can help to save both
offspring by rotating them so that the mother looks after each one in turn.
Although efforts have been made to prevent the hunting of Pandas in China, they can still be killed
by poachers or in traps intended for other animals.
Other animals at risk
The Giant Panda's distant cousin the Polar Bear
also faces grave threats to its survival. Find out more about
Polar Bear conservation.