We’re here in China searching for wild giant pandas. That’s right, wild pandas. You may have seen pandas in zoos. They’re one of the most popular animals in captivity. But have you ever seen pandas living where they really live? They live here above 5,000 feet in the remote mound forests of Central China. Giant pandas are solitary creatures. Many times the only reason they know that other pandas are around is because of the scent marks they leave.
Pandas rub their scent glands on the bamboo trees, and then other pandas sniff the trees to find out who’s around and if the other party’s interested in mating. Pandas eat bamboo, lots of bamboo; up to 40 pounds a day. This panda looks like he’s chewing down a pool cue. Oddly enough, certain times of year they eat the leaves, other times they eat the stalks. Your average 275 panda spends up to 14 hours a day eating, the rest of its time sleeping. Okay, we’ve saved the best for last. Shots of the reclusive giant panda are rare, but the rarest of the rare of these shots, a mother in her den cradling her newborn panda baby.
The mother probably won’t leave this den or eat for 25 days while she takes care of this helpless young one. Want to hear what a baby panda sounds like? In a year the cub will become semi-independent but it will stick around mom for up to 18 months. Giant pandas are one of the rarest animals in the \world. Even though more than 600 were recently discovered, there are only about 1600 total in the wild. In a way, they’re too cute for their own good so we keep putting them into zoos to protect them from poachers as well as from habitat destruction. But now greater efforts are being made to see that wild pandas are able to live and thrive in their Chinese mountain homes.