Giant Pandas at Beijing Zoo
Giant Pandas are unique to China. If you won't be going to Chendu or any of the other Wildlife Preserves, take some time and stop at the Beijing Zoo to take a look at these beautiful creatures.
They are an endangered species. Pandas were once found all across the southern part of China. However, overpopulation and rapid urbanization have left few forests for them to live. In addition, poachers used to hunt them for their furs.
Giant Pandas feed mainly on bamboo, about 35 to 65 pounds a day! They eat so much because bamboo provides little nourishment.
Bamboo is crucial for their existence and it has a peculiar quality. Bamboo dies after it flowers, and its blooming period occurs at very long intervals. In some cases there might be a gap of 100 years between blooming periods. In 1980, when large quantities of fountain bamboo (the pandas favorite) bloomed all at once, and then quickly died, many pandas died of starvation as their main food supply was suddenly cut off.
The Beijing Zoo is certainly worth a visit, if nothing else to see these adorable animals. When we arrived, they were having their lunch... bamboo (of course!) and watermelon... Take a look!!!:
Check out our Beijing Map for this and other Beijing Attractions' locations.
Total world population of panda bears is not very well documented but is estimated at 1,200 with maybe another 120 in Zoos woldwide.
There are about 12 reserves in China dedicated to their preservation. One of the best places to see these creatures is the Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu. Their research base continuously breeds and raises cubs. Their main aim is to eventually start returning them to the wild.
These preserves were all affected by the Wenchuan Earthquake in May 2008 but most areas in Sichuan Province have re-opened for tourism and new ones are being revamped.
Check out these short panda movies contributed by recent visitors, including the Panda Kindergarten and the Research and Breeding Centers, watch these adorable creatures playing, sliding down the slides and at feeding time!
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