Giant Panda Habitat
- Name: The Chinese call it the ‘big bear-cat’ (大熊猫 da xiongmao /dah-sshyong-maow/).
- Size: 75 centimeters (2.5 foot) tall and 1.5 meters (5 foot) long
- Weight: Up to 150 kg (330 lb)
- Habitat: Central- Western and Southwest China.Mainly Sichuan. A few in Shaanxi and Gansu. See the map »
- Diet: 99% bamboo. 13 kg (30 lb) or more a day.
- Life Span: Up to 30 years in captivity, but usually only 15 to 20 years in the wild
- Protection Status: Endangered. Estimates of giant panda numbers in the wild vary between 1,500 and 3,000.
- Giant Panda Facts »
The giant panda's habitat is on the mountainous edge of the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau, Central-West and Southwest China. Giant pandas mainly live Sichuan, with a few populations in Shaanxi and Gansu. See Giant Panda Maps.
Giant pandas live in rainy, mountainous bamboo forests 1,200 to 3,100 meters (4,000 to 10,000 feet) above sea level. An adult pair need about 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) of bamboo to sustain them.
Giant panda habitat has been reduced by growth in China’s logging and farming practices, until logging was banned by the government in 1998.
Before extensive farming and deforestation in China, the giant panda lived in many lowland areas of China's interior.
Now over 50 nature reserves, covering over 10,000 sq km (4,000 sq mi), protect some of the remaining wild panda populations. However, the separation of habitat areas due to development means that pandas sometimes starve if the bamboo in their area has a bad year.
Protecting the panda's habitat concurrently preserves whole ecosystems from destruction and preserves the quality of water near the source of China’s largest and most important river system – the Yangtze.
Ecotourism in these reserves provides a livelihood for locals in poor mountain areas, while giving tourists a chance to see wild pandas in a controlled manner that leaves minimal impact on the environment.
Click here to see maps of giant panda habitat.
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