Big Panda, or Bamboo Bear: a description of where interesting facts live
One of the most ancient mammals that survived to our days is a large panda - a bear with a unique distinctive color pattern of fur: white with black spots around the eyes, “sleeves” and “pants” and black ears. The area of its distribution in the wild is in the territory of China. Bey-shung, as they call the big panda in the language of the Middle Kingdom, is very honored in their homeland. For killing this animal, the law provides for the death penalty - the death penalty. In addition, according to the results of research, the panda's DNA is 68% identical to the human genome. These animals have their own language, 12 "words" of which Chinese scientists have already deciphered.
European scientists first learned about this animal quite late.A French missionary residing in China in 1869 was the first European to see a large panda. Arman David, traveling in China, made religious activities and in the same time was engaged in his hobby - he led a journal of naturalistic studies. He not only described the birds, animals and plants he had seen, he also collected specimens. So he wandered into one of the remote villages of Sichuan province. On the fence of one of the houses he saw a strange skin of an animal resembling a bear. Residents of the village told that skin was removed from a real animal, which was killed in the local surroundings, in the mountains. Locals called it “bei-shung” - literally means “white mountain bear”. Armand persuaded to sell the skin and later sent it to Paris. He himself remained in China for further study of this land and missionary work.
The scientists of Paris, having received the parcel, gave it a long time to doubt: it’s a repainted bear or a fake artfully stitched from different hides. In the same year, a French missionary bought a large panda killed by hunters. Self-processed and handed the skin and bones to the scientist along with information about the animal, obtained from the stories and explanations of the hunters. After careful study, zoologists christened the beast a large panda and attributed to the raccoon family.So they called him because the little panda that lives in several regions of Asia was already known.
The perniciousness of discovery
The discovery of the panda was a tragic event for her. In addition to scientists, crowds of hunters for rare animals and trophies rushed to China.
After World War II, the regions of residence of pandas officially became reserved, where only scientists were allowed to enter foreign countries. Since the fifties of the last century, research groups have carefully studied black and white mammals. The purpose of the study is the possibility of keeping and breeding them in captivity.
Scientists have long attributed the big panda to raccoons due to some anatomical similarity with a small panda. Paleontologist Tennius in 1921, based on an analysis of morphology, biochemistry, cardiology, ethology, proved that only on five signs does it have similarities with a raccoon, sixteen with bears, and twelve have their own unique characteristics. Genetic studies of scientists from Beijing showed that the panda has thirty thousand genes, and its DNA is 68% similar to the human. An analysis of the animal's genome confirmed its belonging to the bear family, which negates the claim that it is related to raccoons.
In the description of the big panda should always specify that it is a bear.It has a long torso with short, thick legs that complete the wide legs with strong claws. Well developed bare pads on the soles and bottoms of the fingers. The notorious "sixth finger" - a distinctive feature of the panda, which, in fact, is a bone protrusion covered with skin - allows it to grasp the smooth surface of bamboo. Big massive head with a dull face and erect ears. The size of a mammal is rather large, and its weight reaches from 85 to 125 kilograms with a body length of 150 to 180 centimeters. The tail is longer than the rest of the bears, and is 12 centimeters. Thick and soft fur covers the whole body. Places of dark color are placed on a white background: on the ears, around the eyes are “glasses”, shoulders, front and hind legs, as well as the tip of the tail. The nominal subspecies have black spots, others have light brown or its shades.
Way of life and nutrition
Big Panda - an animal in the diet, which is dominated by plant food. It can be safely called a vegetarian. Favorite and the main element of nutrition are young leaves and bamboo shoots. Evolution has strengthened the walls of the stomach of a mammal that is able to protect itself from the splinter of a plant.There are three hundred species of bamboo in China, but only ten or fifteen of them fit the panda. It is precisely because a person destroys the bamboo forests, where a large panda lives, that the population is declining.
Although scientists have recorded a panda in the squad of predators, in fact it eats up to 30 kilograms of bamboo every day and only rarely eats eggs, small animals, birds and even carrion. Again, all the dietary elements listed always go as an addition to bamboo.
These animals climb trees very well, but they spend most of their time on the ground. Not bad they cope with overcoming water obstacles to food. Active during the day, 12 hours of which devote to chewing food. In winter, unlike brown relatives from the taiga, big pandas do not hibernate in the full sense of the word. They become slower and enter a state that only slightly resembles hibernation. It does not last long.
Territoriality and social structure
Males and females have their own territory, which, despite its delicate appearance, is protected by animals with wild ferocity. Especially jealously guard their possessions of the female.Adult pandas lead a recluse lifestyle, making an exception only during the mating period.
Though they seem to be silent animals, they have their own language of communication, which consists of sounds of different tonality. Greeting each other with peaceful intentions, animals emit a bleating resembling sheep. They express dissatisfaction with their brothers with a roar and a booming buzz. On the possible threat of a panda reports the rapid exposure of the teeth.
Currently, Chinese scientists are closely engaged in deciphering the language of their communication, and there are already results: 12 sound combinations. For example, the sound of "gi-ji" means that the beast is hungry, and if everything is in order, he says "kyu" to his congeners.
They reach sexual maturity at four to eight years. The mating period begins and lasts all spring (March - May). Embryo lasts for 95-160 days. They give birth to one or two cubs weighing from 90 to 130 grams. It is noteworthy: if two babies are born, the second, weaker one, the mother throws herself to death. Panda kids are already born with fur. Interestingly, the skin has dark spots that are identical in location to dark fur spots.
Zoos, when two cubs are born, resort to deception of the mother: they take away the “objector”, then in a couple of days they put it in, and the first baby is taken. Such castling workers continue until the end of the feeding period. This is done to save livestock animals. It is possible that such measures made it possible to take out a big panda from the Red Book. Or rather, move from the section “Endangered Species” to the section “Vulnerable”. Pandas rarely acquire offspring in captivity. This did not happen until 2000.
Until 2016, the animal was considered an endangered species with a continuing decline in numbers, low birth rates. At the moment, according to information received, in natural conditions live in 2060 individuals. To save the population, Chinese authorities have taken several radical measures. Hunting is prohibited on a panda, in addition, the death penalty is provided for the harm done to it. The regions of their residence since the fifties of the last century are considered reserved. In addition to the authorities of the PRC, there are public organizations and volunteer movements all over the world that are in favor of preserving the population of the species.
- In summer, the big panda climbs to a height of 4,000 meters above sea level.
- All black and white bears are considered the property of the PRC.
- Those that are in any zoo in the world are rental animals.
- China offers its animals for rent for $ 1 million a year.
- If offspring springs from rented pandas, all cubs are considered to be Chinese property.
- There is the second common name of the big panda - the bamboo bear.
- Despite the similarity of the names, they are not relatives with a small panda.
- The cub is with the mother from 1.5 to 3 years.
- The closest relative of the beast lives in South America - it is a spectacled bear.
- Only twenty percent of the food consumed is absorbed by the bamboo bear.
- The animal image is the emblem of the World Wide Fund for Nature.