Every year on March 16, we honour the fluffiest, bamboo-munching bears that are a source of national pride in China. The panda has two subspecies: the Giant, black and white panda, and the ‘Qinling panda’, a much smaller, brown variety found in 1985 in the mountain ranges of China’s southern Shaanxi Province. Giant pandas can only be found in the wild in China’s isolated mountainous regions. Panda’s classification was upgraded from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 2019 due to rapidly expanding population numbers.
Despite this, it is estimated that less than 2,000 pandas remain in the wild owing to habitat destruction, farming, fur harvesting, and other causes. Pandas survive in the wild for roughly 15 to 20 years, but those kept in captivity can live considerably longer. Panda bears contribute to the environment of China’s bamboo forests by distributing seeds and thereby creating new flora that benefits both humans and animals. That is why it is critical to safeguard the panda and its habitat.
The low birth rate of pandas is one reason leading to their endangered condition. Given that female panda are only fertile two or three days a year, it stands to reason that reproduction in the wild is more challenging for this species. There are around 27 zoos throughout the world that conserve Giant Pandas and develop habitats that favour breeding. The most critical component in sustaining wild pandas is protecting their environment, particularly bamboo forests, which are their primary source of sustenance.
NATIONAL PANDA DAY’S HISTORY
Though the origins of this festival are unknown, we may infer that it was founded to raise awareness about the beauty of pandas in order to prevent them from becoming extinct. The World-Wide Fund for Nature was founded in 1961, and its logo is based on the Panda because it is “an animal that is beautiful, endangered, and loved by many people throughout the world”, according to Sir Peter Scott, one of the WWF’s early founders. The panda became a symbol of the global conservation movement, a call to action to protect endangered species and our natural ecological habitats for our wild creatures.
Pandas are classified “vulnerable” to extinction in 2020 owing to zoo breeding attempts, reforestation, and conservation activities. Though they are no longer on the verge of extinction, it is critical to preserve panda habitat because the giant panda plays a vital role in our natural ecology. Recently, there have been significant political arguments in China and throughout the globe over how necessary it is to continue investing money to breed pandas in captivity and maintain China’s forests, where wild panda bears reside. According to a 2015 scientific report published by The Society for Conservation Biology, protecting the giant panda’s native habitat benefits 70 percent of the country’s forest birds, 70 percent of animals, and 31 percent of amphibians. Pandas have an important function in forests, and it is our responsibility to safeguard them.
TIMELINE FOR NATIONAL PANDA DAY
April 1929: Roosevelt’s game
The Roosevelts are the first outsiders to kill a panda.
1957: A delightful present
A total of 24 pandas are gifted to other nations by China as peace gestures.
The World-Wide Fund for Nature was founded, and its logo was based on the Panda.
More pandas in 2015
The results of the Fourth National Giant Panda Survey, issued by the State Forestry Administration, reveal that the number of wild giant pandas has risen by 268 to 1,864 during the previous decade.
NATIONAL PANDA DAY EVENTS
View a panda nature documentary
The cartoon series ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is a good place to start, but real-life documentaries will give pandas credit. Watch “A Panda Is Born — Documentary About Taishan”, for example, which tells the life of one of the world’s most renowned pandas, Taishan, who was born in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and is the first panda to reach adulthood.
Put on pandas to strike up a discussion
Wear panda-themed clothing or purchase panda-themed merchandise, especially if it helps to save the panda species. You never know who could be interested in knowing more about these critters than simply their fluffy loveliness.
You may fund and digitally “adopt” a panda online, which will help ensure their survival in the future. The expense of caring for a panda in captivity might be high, but you are giving these animals with longer, more serene lives.
PANDAS: 5 INTERESTING FACTS
They eat for 14 hours straight
This equates to ingesting up to 83 pounds of bamboo each day, depending on the section of the bamboo consumed.
Their scientific name has a peculiar connotation
The panda’s scientific name is Ailuropoda melanoleuca, which translates to “black and white cat chow!”
New-born pandas are Blind
Around 6 weeks of age, they begin to see. They rely on spatial memory more than visual memory throughout their lives.
Five fingers and a fictitious thumb
Panda’s chew using their expanded wrist bones, which act as opposable thumbs.
The world’s oldest panda in captivity
Jia Jia, a 38-year-old large female panda at Ocean Park in Hong Kong, lived from March 1978 until October 2016.
WHY WE APPRECIATE NATIONAL PANDA DAY
They are a global emblem of friendliness and peace
Giant pandas transferred to American and Japanese zoos in the 1970s were among the first cultural gifts traded between China and the West. This is known as “panda diplomacy”. Pandas are still considered esteemed visitors in China, and some people believe they bring good luck.
Their unhurried routine of naps and snuggle heaps
Though pandas are generally timid and antisocial with people, they like cuddling and napping for hours after a meal. It’s difficult not to like these fluffy, tuxedo-clad creatures, both in the wild and in zoos.
Baby pandas are the most adorable baby animals
A giant panda infant is the tiniest animal new-born in comparison to its mother. They are usually the size of a stick of butter when they are born.