Pandas were almost eradicated to the existence, this brought up the question: who is panda’s ultimate enemy?
Nature is the divine goddess of life itself. Nature has given us many gifts, and we should be grateful for it. Thus, nature has given us probably one of the most adorable gifts of them all — the giant panda. Yes, we have seen them on our Facebook timelines pulling off cute stunts and whatnots! But there is more to them than our social media shows us.
The other side of the coin seems completely different. They subjected to constant predation and also manipulation by human beings. The panda’s enemy seems to be everywhere.
This article takes you on a roller coaster ride into the world of the great giant panda.
KNOW MORE ABOUT PANDAS AND THEIR ENEMY
Before we dive deeper into the lives of this animal. In order for us to familiarize ourselves with some more information to understand the panda’s predators and enemy.
The primary key in the circle of life is predation. To thrive, animals and humans alike have to fight for their food. Similarly, pandas have a natural enemy as well. But there are much bigger problems that the giant pandas face concurrently.
HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GIANT PANDA!
Ailuropoda melanoleuca, also known as the panda bear or the panda, is a species of the bear family native to South Central China. The few mountain ranges in Central China, mostly in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu, serves as the home to these creatures.
Black spots encompassing its eyes, ears, and all over its spherical body has always been one of their distinct characteristics. It belongs to the Phylum Chordata. The giant panda belongs to the class Mammalia. It means that this animal is a mammal and gives birth to its offspring.
Even though it is a native to the order Carnivora, the giant panda is a folivore.
A folivore is a significant type of a herbivore that predominantly feeds on leaves. Some adult leaves consist of hard to digest cellulose in high amounts and have less energy and toxic components. This is why folivorous animals have extended digestive tracts and unrushed metabolism.
They feed primarily on bamboo leaves and shoots, which surmounts more than ninety-nine percent of the animal’s diet.
Not only the bamboo leaves and shoots, wild giant pandas occasionally feed on! They rely on different grasses, tubers, and sometimes meat of small birds, rodents, and so on.
Pandas bred in captivity also feed honey, eggs, fish, yams, leaves of shrubs, bananas, and sometimes specially cooked foods. Breeding them in captivity was the result of panda’s enemy making them disappear over the years.
The great giant panda adorns with black patches around its body, ears, and eyes with exuberant white fur. The mature giant pandas’ measure from four feet to six feet (1.2 to 1.9m) in length.
Additionally, they consist of a tail of about ten to fifteen centimeters tall (3.9 to 5.9 inches). And stretching sixty to ninety centimeters (2.0 to 3.0 feet) in length near the shoulder. The tail is the second-longest tail in the bear family.
Mature male giant pandas can weigh up to 160 kilograms (350 lbs). Female adult giant pandas are usually ten to twenty percent smaller than regular male giant pandas. Also, they typically weigh up to a minimum of seventy kilograms (150 lbs). In some cases, the female giant pandas weigh up to 125 kgs or 276 lbs.
In addition to this, the coloring on the giant panda’s body remains a mystery to date. Theories have evolved since then about these vibrant black and white colors on the animal’s body. It is a destiny to provide camouflage in their snowy and rocky habitats from their natural predators.
The vibrant fur coating is thick and wooly, giving heat and comfort during the harsh cold winters. The shape of the skull is similar to durophagous carnivorans. They have evolved and have larger molars with more complexity and have an extensive and enlarged temporal fossa.
The giant panda has a paw which consists of a thumb and five other fingers. The inch in the giant pandas is a modified sesamoid bone structure that aids the panda in gripping while eating. The giant panda has a lifespan of around 20 years in the wild. But lives longer and nearly about 30 years if bred in captivity.
The giant panda taxonomically positioned as a carnivoran, but its diet is primarily herbivorous. They are termed explicitly as folivores, and their menu is consistently composed of bamboo leaves and shoots.
The giant panda shares its genomic identity like a carnivore and has a digestive system similar to a carnivore. Even though their primary food source is bamboo, they extract very little energy and protein from it. The giant panda has microbes in its gut, which helps it to digest cellulose. Pandas have sterile intestines when they are born. And thus need their mother’s excreta to digest leaves and other plant parts.
How much does an average giant panda consume in a day? Sources revealed that nine to fourteen kilograms of bamboo shoots and leaves for the energy extracted from its diet. As a result, the giant panda excretes near about 40 times a day! One of the most surprising facts about these creatures, their diet plays a significant role in their behavioral pattern. They are introverts with limited social interactions and refrain from sleeping in slope regions to save energy.
Apart from this, the giant panda has two more peculiar features. Their morphology is an example of Darwin’s famous theory, “The survival of the fittest”. Its humongous morphology and spherical facial structure are to adapt to its eating habits.
Anthropologist Russell Ciochon sternly observed; that the lower body surface is to the body volume signals to its lower metabolic rate. The lower metabolic rate permits the panda to consume a poor diet source like the bamboo shoots and leaves.
THE PERILS FACED BY THE GIANT PANDAS — PANDA’S ULTIMATE ENEMY!
Before we reveal the pandas’ enemy that threatened them for a long time, let us dig deeper into the new detrimental conditions that the pandas have to face.
Pandas were once the native of some of the lush green mountain ranges of Central China. Specifically across the lands of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu. Due to the abrupt technological achievements and rapid urbanization, these were subjected to intensive commercial farming, deforestation, and construction.
This led these giant pandas to flee from their natural habitat of these mountainous ranges and lowland areas. Also, it threatened their survival and has raised concerns about the extinction of these species. The reason is the declaration of a conservation-reliant vulnerable species. Lastly, it indicates that the survival of the species is only possible if there is control over predation. Also, other threatening factors which might stand as a cause for this species’ peril.
The current population of the giant panda, 1800 globally due to the threats faced continuously from the pandas’ enemies. The demographics seem to change continually. To honor this species and promote awareness regarding the conservation of this mammal. The giant panda has been used as its symbol internationally. It has appeared on gold panda bullion coins and one of the Fuwa Mascots during the Beijing Olympics. It is also the official logo of WWF, also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature.
With the constant confrontation with numerous threats, in the year 2016. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is also known as IUCN. It has classified this species again from endangered to vulnerable. They now, unfortunately, are categorized as threatened species. The habitat loss, very low birth rate, and habitat fragmentation are always the threat to these animals.
The giant panda is an animal that lives on trees and mostly spends its lifetime wandering in the bamboo forests. The adult giant pandas have their market territory, and the females especially are more concerned about their lands.
As said earlier, pandas usually limit their social interactions. They interact only during the short breeding season to mate. The females stand out as lone mothers. This means after sexual intercourse, the males leave the females to raise the offspring all by herself.
The pandas’ enemy is not bulk in number. Young panda cubs are easy to hunt. They are prone to be attacked by snow leopards, yellow-throated martens, predatory birds like eagles. Along with the feral dogs, jackals, Asian golden cats, and the Asian black bear. Pre- adults are prone to be attacked by leopards. On the other side, mature giant pandas do not face many predators due to their size and weight.
The pandas’ enemy surely does not leave without a good fight. The pandas might be peaceful and like to remain aloof from others. But they surely did not forget the predatory instincts of their ancestors. Even if they breed in captivity and appear docile and well mannered. They are sure to attack if they felt the need.
The giant pandas are typically old, sick, weak, or have just been born. They are more likely to be attacked by predators.
Giant pandas are usually peace-loving, solitary animals with limited interaction. So they will instinctively avoid any confrontation with pandas’ natural enemy. But if they face life-threatening situations where escape is inevitable, they will surely fight back as a defense mechanism.
A panda’s defense to its natural enemy will inevitably end with fatal wounds. This is because pandas have large molars and tight jaw muscles designed for crushing bamboo shoots. They can be ferocious if they feel threatened. A panda usually uses its physical strength and powerful jaw and teeth to attack their predators.
Except for fauna that contributes to the predation of these adorable animals. There is also other pandas’ natural enemy that is impossible to escape. Diseases have also played a role in threatening the survival of these precious animals. They are prone to fatal diseases encompassing the respiratory, digestive, nervous, and hemophilic system. They are likely to tumors, endoparasite and ectoparasites, dermal ailments, traumas, and so on. These diseases will affect health and the overall lifespan of the giant pandas.
A PANDA’S TRUE NEMESIS
A pandas’ enemy stretches beyond the rules of natural predation. The ultimate nemesis of the pandas is greed and conceit. This nemesis of the pandas has been threatening its existence for years now. For years, the giant pandas mercilessly slaughtered for colored pelts. We rejoiced in our achievements standing on the carcasses of these innocent creatures. Pandas predators and enemies attack only the sick, weak, and young ones. We have forced our advancements and achievements and carelessly caused deforestation and so on for our benefits. It has brought about one of the biggest crises the pandas have ever faced— the loss of their habitats. It has raised concerns and questions encompassing the survival of these species.
They consider endangering to the effects of global warming on their habitat. More importantly, deforestation, farming, poaching of these animals, and so on. The panda cubs move from their parents with the help of the human caretakers. And that too, right after their birth and placed in different petting zoos. These have resulted in mental traumas and distress in pandas. Their survival relies on the conservation of these species. The pandas’ predators and enemies have used these animals, not for natural predation or to survive. But they have poached them mercilessly for their benefits. Forcefully, they fall prey to human capturing, torturing, and training to act like human beings to entertain. The main reason for their extinction is all the human-made causes. It is one fight that they cannot win and will only cost them their lives.
The giant pandas are very tranquil animals. They do not harm anyone until they feel threatened.
These animals are introverts by instinct and stay aloof from their species and human beings alike. All of humankind’s responsibility is to know more about these fantastic creatures, which are nothing but a gift of nature.
Admittedly, there is still time to turn the loss into recovery! As human beings, we forgot that only if we shake hands with quality once again. We must put them in their shoes, and I am sure wails begging for pity are sure to follow.
As global warming is one of the panda’s enemies, we can recommend living a sustainable lifestyle to lessen its effect (If you are looking for tips on how to save marine life, we have the coral reef drawings for you!).
These animals do not deserve this horrendous fate that we choose for them. This is the time to take the necessary actions to save these animals before it is too late.