Native to China, the giant panda is so cute it seems impossible they’re not humans in a bear suit. Long threatened with extinction due to their low birth rates, shortage of food and human encroachment on their natural habitats, these poster children for animal conservation are now facing a new threat: starvation.
Pandas exist on one food–bamboo–and it is beginning to die off. This happens to the plant about every half a century or so, which is how long bamboo lives. A new crop will take ten years to mature, and the last time a crop finished its lifecycle, around the 1980s, 250 giant pandas starved to death.
The good news is that wildlife conservationists have more support and knowledge than ever before, and at least one nature reserve in China is aiming to move those pandas at risk into new habitats and find them new sources of nourishment. So it could be said that while they’re far from thriving, the giant panda’s existence today is very much due to the efforts of animal lovers around the world striving together to find solutions for animals at risk.
For more information, please see: www.wwf.org