Pandas are one of my favorite animals because of how cute they are, but also how exotic they are. You obviously can’t see one in the wild anywhere near San Francisco. And last time I was at the SF zoo I dont think there were any pandas- or at least I didn’t see any probably because they were hiding behind their structures. So because of how limited they are, it makes me like them more. It was only a matter of time until I did a post about Pandas…so here it is!
Because Pandas are one of my favorite animals I was so sad when I came across a article on Discovery News about how they are going extinct.
It said that there are fewer than 1,600 pandas left in the wild, and a new study found that more than half of the bear’s already diminished natural habitat will be completely unavailable in 70 years- thanks to climate change and global warming.
To protect them, zoologists are working to understand and improve panda breeding in captivity to keep their numbers up.
In a separate article on Discovery News I found that pandas have very tricky sex lives.
Male pandas are reproductively viable for six or more months out of the year, but females are only in “the mood” one to three days each year. This leaves literally no time for the pandas to continue reproducing to keep their kind thriving.
Not only do male pandas only have a small period of time to reproduce with the females, they must go on quite a journey and travel large distanced in the wild, across difficult terrain to find a panda friend who is within her mating period.Palmer, head veterinarian at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, explained that breeding season for all females lasts from February though May annually. Individual females then have one to three days of mating within that time frame.So along with the miss match of moods, and choosy females, the male pandas have been observed to be very respectful of the females.
“The males will not breed with females outside of their receptive period”When the timing is right, a female panda produces 1 to 2 cubs biannually; so strengthening the wild population is a difficult and slow process. Going back to the point that there are fewer than 1,600 pandas left in the forests of central China.So, back to the beginning when I was talking about climate change and the loss of wild habitat…These species used to roam over most of China, northern Myanmar, and northern Vietnam and are now limited to six mountain ranges between the Sichuan plain and the Tibetan plateau. And the habitat is looking to grow much smaller, with pandas set to lose 60% of their current range by 2080.
As global temperatures become warmer, the suitable habitats will move to higher elevations and latitudes.
So how is climate change and reproduction related?“Giants pandas have a narrow range, so not disperse over large distances, produce one but every two-three years, and that all depends on bamboo for 99% of their diet”The amount of bamboo they consume affects their reproduction.
So due to climate change, and the lack of space to roam and find food, the panda’s ability to reproduce is being threatened as well!Since not much can be done about the changes due to global warming, captivity-breeding programs are under way. They hope to help bring up the numbers of panda reproduction in the next few years to keep their species at a stable and growing number, despite the effect of global warming and the ability to find food and reproduce in the wild.