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After a baby panda is born, the mother panda will eat less, and will devote her time and energy to feeding and training the baby, which is very laborious, and thus reduces her health and life span.
At breeding centers, researchers help the mother pandas to take care of their cubs, thus helping to ensure the survival of both.
Pandas in captivity can live 30 years or longer, while wild pandas usually live up to 20 years. There were 422 captive breeding pandas at the end of 2015. Some of these are introduced to the wild each year.
The giant panda is a vulnerable species, due to loss of habitat and very low birth rate (one cub per two years). Female pandas usually can give birth to only one baby panda at a time, and newborn pandas are extremely fragile. Therefore to save the species, China has begun captive breeding programs.
China is the only natural home of giant pandas, and wild giant pandas can only be found in deep forests in some parts of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu Provinces.
According to the World Wildlife Fund's research, in 2015, the wild giant panda population reached 1,864, thanks to the success of captive breeding. Read more about How China Protects Giant Pandas — Pandas Now NOT Endangered!
There are 4 main captive breeding centers/bases in China open to the public, all accessible from Chengdu in Sichuan Province.
You can visit a panda breeding center or even volunteer to help look after the pandas. See Giant Panda Volunteer Programs.
If you are interested in a panda tour, we can help you tailor-make your own unique tour. If you have no idea, please see our popular tours below for inspirations: