Adult Giant Pandas are the ultimate loners with a great dislike for others of their kind. They only get together during mating season. The babies weigh a mere 3 to 5 ounces at birth and as cubs they love to play with their siblings. At the age of 18 months, Mom sends the cubs off to live on their own.
Even though this beautiful, cuddly looking bear is China’s national treasure, it was previously listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species in 2008 and recently been downlisted to vulnerable with less than 1,900 adult pandas living in the wild in the remote, mountainous regions of central China—Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. According to National Geographic, about 100 live in zoos around the world.
Although their population is increasing, a positive sign confirming that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective, climate change could well reverse the gains made over the last couple of decades by reducing the bamboo the pandas rely on for food. The Giant Panda will remain a conservation-dependent species for the foreseeable future.