Threatened by a hug – endangered giant panda bites man

So cute give me a hug   –    Ouch !      Help!!giant_panda_2004-03-2

In Beling a critically endangered panda at a zoo in southern China did not want a hug from a student who jumped a fenced in enclosure with warning signs to get one.

The 20-year-old male student surnamed Liu scareda very startled  panda, named Yangyang. So the animal defended himself by biting the intruder, The panda repeatedly bit at Liu’s arms and legs,” Zookeepers rescued the man and calmed the panda.

Why was the student in the pen? “Yangyang was so cute and I just wanted to cuddle him,” Liu was quoted as saying from his hospital bed. “I didn’t expect he would attack.”

Scientists believe fewer than 2,000 giant pandas live in the wild in China. Wild pandas live only in remote, mountainous regions in central China. These high bamboo forests are cool and wet—just as pandas like it. They may climb as high as 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) to feed on higher slopes in the summer season.
The giant panda bear only exists today in six small areas located in inland China. The habitat, suitable for the bamboo on which it survives, is a cold, damp coniferous forest. The elevation ranges from 4,000 to 11,000 feet high. In most of the areas in which they still roam wild, they must compete with farmers who farm the river valleys and the lower slopes of the mountains.

The giant panda has an insatiable appetite for bamboo. A typical animal eats half the day—a full 12 out of every 24 hours—and relieves itself dozens of times a day. It takes 28 pounds (12.5 kilograms) of bamboo to satisfy a giant panda’s daily dietary needs, and it hungrily plucks the stalks with elongated wrist bones that function rather like thumbs. Panda Bears eat over fifteen different kinds of Bamboo. Because of a inefficient intestinal system the Panda must feed for 12 to 16 hours a day, they can consume 23 to 86 pounds of Bamboo each day, sometimes eat birds or rodents as well.

The head of a Panda is very large and has developed special molars for chewing plants. It has powerful muscles which extend from the top of it’s head to the jaws giving it the ability to crush very tough stalks. There esophagus has a though lining to protect the Panda from bamboo splinters. The stomach is protected too, with a thick muscular lining.

Pandas are often seen eating in a relaxed sitting posture, with their hind legs stretched out before them. They may appear sedentary, but they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient swimmers.

Giant pandas are solitary. They have a highly developed sense of smell that males use to avoid each other and to find females for mating in the spring. After a five-month pregnancy, females give birth to a cub or two, though they cannot care for both twins. The blind infants weigh only 5 ounces (142 grams) at birth and cannot crawl until they reach three months of age. They are born white, and develop their much loved coloring later.

A sedentary bear  generally move in a slow, determined manner. When startled, they will move at a slow trot to escape danger. Giant pandas, with their short claws, are capable of climbing trees very easily. Adult Giant pandas are about 5 feet long from nose to rump, with a 4-6 inch tail. A large adult panda can weigh about 220-330 pounds, with males 10 percent larger and 20 percent heavier than females male is about the same size as the American black bear.

Much of what we know about pandas comes from study of these zoo animals, because their wild cousins are so rare and elusive. Their numbers are deceasing due to dwindling habitat and their poor reproductive capabilities, both in the wild and in captivity.
Today, only around 61 percent of the population, or about 980 pandas, are under protection in reserves. As China’s economy continues its rapid development, it is more important than ever to ensure the giant panda’s survival. The survival of the panda and the protection of its habitat will ensure that people living in the region continue to reap ecosystem benefits for many generations.

1. Excerpts from Panda attacks Chinese man who wanted a cuddle- Ben Blanchard 

Reuters November 22, 2008

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081122/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_china_panda;_ylt=ApoK4wxrXZS8wpjus3YhnuEPLBIF

2. Excerpts from http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/GiantPandas/PandaFacts/default.cfm

Image courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Giant_Panda_2004-03-2.jpg

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