Conservation of Ailuropoda Melanoleuca

2678 Words11 Pages
Ailuropoda melanoleuca, known as the “Bear Cat” in Chinese, is a species of bear found in the Ursidae family. It is native to the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests of southwest China, where, they consume about twenty-eight to eighty-four pounds of bamboo a day (“Giant Panda: Ailuropoda”, n.d.). In order to perform this formidable task pandas have a pseudo-opposable thumb, which is actually an outgrowth of the sesamoid bone in the wrist, that allows them to strip the leaves off the bamboo stalks. Since this animal is in the Order Carnivora, it does maintain the digestive system of a carnivore, causing it to gain little benefit from consuming bamboo; however, they have compensated for this by limiting their social interactions and living a more sedentary life (“Giant Panda”, n.d.). To manage their mostly herbivore diet, pandas have developed the ability to digest cellulose in their short, straight digestive tract. Bamboo passes through the panda’s digestive tract rapidly and thus, limits microbial digestion (“Giant Panda”, n.d.). As a result, pandas defecate up to forty times per day. Ailuropoda melanoleuca are often seen eating in a reclined posture with their hind legs stretched in front of them; however, pandas are not completely sedentary: they have been found to climb as high as thirteen thousand feet in order to reach the bamboo on the higher slopes during summer months, are agile swimmers, and excellent tree climbers (“Giant Panda”, World Wildlife Fund, n.d.). The giant panda is about four to five feet tall and weighs around three hundred pounds (“Giant Panda: Ailuropoda”, n.d.). Pandas were once believed to be solitary, but recent studies suggest small groups of pandas share large territories causing them to sometimes meet outside of the breeding season. These animals often come in contact due to scent markings, calls, or by chance (“Giant Panda”,

More about Conservation of Ailuropoda Melanoleuca

Open Document