China's Giant Pandas Are Running Out Of Bamboo

PandasPandas come together for breeding only once a year, but are otherwise solitary animals in the wild.

Photo: Ann Batdorf, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

A new report suggests that panda bears may be running out of their staple food, bamboo.Pandas are already threatened by habitat loss and a slow breeding rate and now climate change may be diminishing the amount of Chinese bamboo – their favourite snack.

The result could be catastrophic for the giant panda.

90-nine per cent of its diet is bamboo, with the panda eating nearly 38 kilograms per day.

The study found that in the northwestern Qinling Mountains, home to one fifth of the wild panda population, is facing a bamboo shortage linked to the warming of the planet, said LiveScience.

The Telegraph reported that it is the plant’s reproductive cycle that makes it vulnerable to climate change.

The researchers from both the US and China used computer models to look at the survivability of three bamboo species.

The most conservative estimates predicted that with rising global temperatures, most of the bamboo would disappear within the next century.

“It is tough, but I think there’s still hope, if we take action now,” said co-author Jianguo Liu, of Michigan State University, reported Discovery.

“If we wait, then we could be too late.”

The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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