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Giant Panda Captive Breeding

Giant Panda Captive Breeding

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Oct. 27, 2021
PandaRaising cubs is hard work for mother pandas!

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.

The Role of Panda Captive Breeding

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.

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A Vulnerable Species Needing Help

Wild panda at wolongA wild panda at Wolong Nature Reserve

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 Protects Giant Pandas

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!

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Breeding Centers

Wolong panda centerA giant panda at Wolong Panda Research Center

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.

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