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The giant panda

Giant panda Fact file

Name: Giant panda
Status: Endangered

Habitat: Forests in Central China.

Description: The giant panda is a type of bear, although for a long time scientists weren't certain what its closest relatives were. You probably know what a panda looks like - it is very large and has a distinctive black and white coat. Giant pandas mainly eat bamboo but will also eat some small animals.

Why is it endangered?
The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals and it is very shy. The giant panda eats a lot of bamboo. As people cut down more and more bamboo to clear land for building, industry and farming, the panda loses its food source and its home. The giant panda is very slow to reproduce, it has only a few babies during its life, and this also contributes to its vulnerability.
Now that people have realised that pandas are so endangered they have started to protect them. There are also a few giant pandas in zoos - a zoo in China has even managed to get their pandas to have a baby!

Image bank - click on the pictures for more information.
Images of giant panda © 2001 John White; image of bamboo courtesy of J. S. Peterson

Giant panda Giant pandas Giant pandas
Giant panda Bamboo Chinese characters

Find out more:
Giant panda fact pack
Learn more about bears
Watch the panda-cam!
Learn more about China
Print out your own giant panda image page (PDF, 110Kb)

Find out about the extinct and endangered animals in the Museum.

Hilda the hippo Dodo
Coelacanth
Thylacine
Blue whale
Golden toad
Giant panda
Passenger pigeon
Schaus' swallowtail

Go to the Homepage to find out about hippos and the causes of extinction.