The western world first learned of the giant panda in 1869 when the French missionary Armand David received a skin from a hunter on 11 March 1869. The first living giant panda to be seen outside China was by the German zoologist Hugo Weigold, who purchased a cub in 1916. In 1938, five giant pandas were sent to London, but no more to follow for the next half of the century due to the Second World War and its repercussions.
Where do pandas live?
Giant Pandas are solitary animals confined to the highly fragmented mountain forests found only in remote China. And because a panda’s diet consists mostly of bamboo shoots, pandas are usually found in bamboo rich forests situated 1500 meters above sea level. However, recent research from Chinese Academy of Sciences has managed to find out a whole lot more about where pandas live.
They generally avoid the higher peaks - as bamboo has difficulties growing in the higher altitude, as well as the lower areas which are now dominated by people.
Dun Wu Qi and Fuwen Wei of the Institute for Zoology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and colleagues studied the movements of giant pandas within the Liangshan Mountains of south central China.
That means they are likely to be disproportionately affected by habitat loss and people exploiting the forest.
It should also be taken into account when breeding programmes release giant pandas back into the wild.
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