|GIANT PANDA FACTS AND FIGURES|
The giant panda is a single species, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, related to bears.
The giant panda is found exclusively in China where it inhabits mountain forests that are dense with bamboo and conifers. They thrive in altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet and are accustomed to torrential rains and dense mist throughout the year.
These black-and-white bears eat primarily bamboo, up to 40 pounds per day. They also have been known to eat other plants and flowers. Occasionally, they've been known to consume small animals. Pandas can spend up to 16 hours a day feeding.
Pandas are solitary animals. Males and females come together only for a short time during breeding season. Females are receptive to males for only a few days every year.
Normally, a single cub is raised each year. The giant panda gestation period is 3 -to-5 months. Cubs are often weaned at about nine months but may remain with their mother for up to 18 months.
Pandas are sexually mature at about 6 years of age and they have a captive life expectancy of 20-30 years.
Their vocal repertoire consists of bleats, honks, squeals, growls, moans and barks.
The giant panda is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It is protected under appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). There are thought to be about 1,000 individuals in the wild.
There are about 127 pandas in captivity, with the majority in China. The giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo are three of five bears in the United States. Zoo Atlanta has a pair. There are three pandas at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City. There are also captive giant pandas in Japan, Germany and North Korea.
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