Peter is an independent international zoo consultant, critic and writer with over 50 years work within zoos.
International Giant Panda Day takes place each year on the 16th March. This is to draw attention to the most iconic and colorful of bears. Everyone is familiar with the Giant Panda but few give it the attention it deserves.
Its smaller cousin the Red Panda has its own special day on the 18th September.
Whereas the Giant Panda was extremely rare at one time concerted conservation efforts mean that today the wild population is in recovery and there are reckoned to be around 2,500 in the wild. It remains Vulnerable.
Pandas breed well in the wild but less so in captivity.
Giant Panda Factoids
1/ Pandas have six digits. The sixth is really an adapted wrist bone.
2/ In the wild Pandas live up to twenty years.
3/ The oldest captive Giant Panda died aged 38.
4/ Pandas spend all day sleeping and eating.
5/ The Panda will spend as long as 16 hours a day sleeping.
6/ A Panda can produce as much as 28Kg of faeces each day.
7/ Pandas defecate every twenty minutes.
8/ Pandas do not hibernate like some other bears.
9/ There are two subspecies of Giant Panda.
10/ Giant Pandas can be dangerous and are 'hands off' when working with them in zoos.
11/ All Giant Pandas in captivity (with exception of those in Mexico) belong to China.
12/ Bamboo makes up 99% of the Giant Pandas diet.
13/ The Giant Panda has a special ling in its throat to protect it from bamboo splinters.
14/ In China the Giant Panda is a symbol of peace.
15/ In captivity the Giant Panda is the most expensive animal to keep.
Camera trap footage of a Giant Panda scenting a tree in Anzihe Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China
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