Pandas, native to China, are known to the Giant cat bear. They are so named because in their actions they behave as cats. At least in some of their actions. The one that wins for them this alternative name is their ability to shinny up a long tall tree quickly to get away from danger. Possibly some disturbance is causing a near panda panic and rather than stand around and engage in battle they take refuge in a giant tree top.
Nature decided this protective device for these amazing bears to preserve them from extinction. There are only about 600 hundred or so in existence today. Their natural habitat – high mountainous areas with large growths of bamboo – is being destroyed by the encroachment of humans who are invading their territory and building their own homes in these quaint mountainous areas. Giant cat bears are native to the high Tibetan areas of China and are found at no other place; except of course in zoos and even there these endangered species are sparse.
Pandas are a natural treasure of China and they are now working to see that they do not disappear from their midst. In 1987, The San Diego Zoo negotiated the loan of two of these giant bear cats to their zoo. These two, a male and a female, Bai Yun and Shi Shi gave birth to Hue Mai and what a royal event it was. With this success, the first to survive when born in captivity was the incentive needed to further their research. The scientific name for the bear cat, or giant panda is Ailuropoda melanoluca. Placing the Chinese bear cat or the giant panda in its correct place in the classification system was not an easy process. It took many years of research since it was such an unusual animal. It was identified as belonging to the bear family only when its genes finally answered their questions about its identity.
In looks some thought it resembled a raccoon, yet larger, and by its actions the Chinese thought it resembled a cat since it had such an uncanny ability to climb trees, and its desire to live alone and to be wary of others, even of other pandas. In feeding it resembles only itself because it eats only bamboo. Without this food source it cannot live. Its stomach and intestines are designed to digest all parts of the bamboo, even the splintering stalks.
Bear cats do not hibernate. The cannot store up enough food as the other bears do to keep them alive during cold periods as other bears do in order to survive, they descend to warmer areas. This lack of the necessary bamboo in these warmer areas may also tend to keep them from becoming numerous. Thus, one of the current efforts to assure their continuation is see that bamboo is not destroyed in these areas.
Panda’s are naturally playful and love to slide down slopes and is as cuddly, most likely as we assume they are. It is known that panda moms are very good mothers and absolutely adore cuddling their babies. They seem to understand that motherhood is not an easy chore for pandas. Many die while infants and since there are only two small little babies born at a time, this keeps their numbers down. The little babies weigh only about a fourth of a pound when born. They stay with their moms until they are about a year and a half. However, they are not fully grown and do not have babies themselves until they are around five or six years old.
To learn more about these cuddly creatures – supposedly they are cuddly, since none of us probably have had a genuine bear hug – check them out online. There is an enormous amount of facts presented about them. They are one of our favorite animal subjects and people everywhere seems to have taken up their cause; their cause being that of survival.