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Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Panda Preserves Suggested

"The magnitude 7.9 earthquake that killed more than 70,000 people in
 Sichuan Province in China last year also struck the world’s remaining wild
 populations of giant pandas. Scientists knew the impact on the animals’ habitat was
 severe, but most of the attention was on the immediate damage at one protected area,
the Wolong National Nature Reserve, which is home to about 150 of the country’s
roughly 1,500 pandas as well as a breeding center."
"Now a study using satellite imagery has put some hard numbers on the
 quake’s long-term impact. In one of the hardest hit areas, the southern
 part of the Minshan Mountains, about one-quarter of the panda habitat, or
135 square miles, was destroyed by mudflows and landslides. The flows also
 had the effect of fragmenting much of the remaining habitat into smaller patches."
"In a paper in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Weihua Xu and
colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences detail the destruction in
South Minshan, which is home to about 35 pandas and contains four reserves.
 They suggest that several new protected areas be created in the region, and
that new corridors between fragmented areas be established “to ensure the
long-term sustainability of the giant panda population and habitat.”
"Dr. Xu and his colleagues used satellite images from before the quake,
 supplemented by fieldwork, to identify areas of suitable panda habitat —
forested, not-too-steep mountain land at elevations between 3,300 and 12,500
 feet, with plenty of pandas’ staple food, bamboo. Then they compared
 post-quake satellite images to determine where mud- and landslides had obliterated the
 habitat. They found that habitat in the region was reduced from about 590 square miles to 455."

"The researchers recommended that three new protected areas, totaling about
120 square miles of habitat, be established, along with two small corridors to
 allow pandas to move between the old and new reserves. They also suggested
 that because most of the intact panda habitat is now at lower elevations,
where the possibilities of human disturbance are greater, that the government
consider relocating some people who live in scattered plots throughout the protected areas."

To read the remainder of this article please go
Here are some facts about Giant Pandas:
1.The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, literally 
meaning "cat-foot black-and-white") is a bear native to 
central-western and southwestern China ] The Giant 
Panda was previously thought to be a member of the 
Procyonidae (raccoon) family. It is easily recognized by its large
, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and
 across its round body. Though belonging to the order Carnivora ,
 the Giant Panda has a diet which is 99%bamboo. The Giant Panda
 may eat other foods such as honey,eggs,fish,yams,shrub leaves, 
oranges and bananas when available.
2.The Giant Panda lives in a few mountain ranges in 
central China, in Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces.
 It once lived in lowland areas, but farming, forest clearing,
 and other development now restrict the Giant Panda to the mountains.
3.The Giant Panda is a conservation reliant endangered 
species. This means Giant Pandas
are endangered or threatened with extinction and require 
continuing species specific wildlife management intervention 
 to survive even when self-sustaining population recovery 
goals are achieved.

4.According to the latest report, China has 239 Giant Pandas 
in captivity and another 27 living outside the country. It also 
estimated that around 1,590 pandas are currently living in the 
wild. However, a 2006 study, via DNA analysis, estimated that 
there might be as many as 2,000 to 3,000 Giant Pandas in the wild
. Though reports show that the numbers of wild pandas are on 
the rise, the International Union for Conservation of Nature believes
 there is not enough certainty to remove the Giant Panda from the
 endangered animal list.The International Union for Conservation
 of Nature and Natural Resources(IUCN) is an international
 organization dedicated to natural resource conservation. 
 in 1948, its headquarters is located in the Lake Geneva area 
in Gland, Switzerland . The IUCN brings together 83 states, 
108 government agencies, 766 Non-governmental organizations
 and 81 international organizations and about 10,000 experts 
and scientists from countries around the world. IUCN's mission
 is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the
 world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to 
ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and 
ecologically sustainable.

Source of information found in 1,2,3,4 is:

Other information about Giant Pandas:

(5)About the size of an American black bear, giant
 pandas stand between two and three feet tall at the
 shoulder (on all four legs), and reach four to six feet 
long. Males are larger than females, weighing up to
 250 pounds in the wild. Females rarely reach 220 pounds.

(6)Scientists aren't sure how long giant pandas live in
 the wild, but they are sure it's shorter than lifespans 
in zoos. Chinese scientists have reported zoo pandas 
as old as 35. The National Zoo's Hsing-Hsing died at
 age 28 in 1999.

(7)Adult giant pandas are generally solitary, but they
 do communicate periodically through scent marks, calls,
 and Giant pandas At birth, the cub is helpless, and it 
takes considerable effort on the mother’s part to raise it.
 A newborn cub weighs three to five ounces and is about 
the size of a stick of butter. Pink, hairless, and blind, the 
cub is 1/900th the size of its mother. Except for a
 marsupial (such as the kangaroo or opossum), a giant
 panda baby is the smallest mammal newborn relative
 to its mother's size.
Cubs do not open their eyes until they are six to eight
 weeks of age and are not mobile until three months.
 A cub may nurse for eight to nine months. A cub is 
nutritionally weaned at one year, but not socially weaned
 for up to two years. breeding maturity between four and 
eight years of age. They may be reproductive until about
 age 20. Female pandas ovulate only once a year, in the 
spring. A short period of two to three days around 
ovulation is the only time she is able to conceive. Calls
 and scents draw males and females to each other.
Female giant pandas give birth between 95 and 160 
days after mating. Although females may give birth to
 two young, usually only one survives. Giant panda cubs
 may stay with their mothers for up to three years before
 striking out on their own. This means a wild female, at
 best, can produce young only every other year; in her
 lifetime, she may successfully raise only five to eight 
cubs. The giant pandas’ naturally slow breeding rate 
prevents a population from recovering quickly from 
illegal hunting, habitat loss, and other human-related
 causes of mortality. meetings. Offspring stay with
 their mothers from one and a half to three years.
(8)The giant panda has lived in bamboo forests 
for several million years. It is a highly specialized 
animal, with unique adaptations.
(9)A wild panda spends much of its day resting,
 feeding, and seeking food. Unlike other bears from 
temperate climates, giant pandas do not hibernate.
 Until recently, scientists thought giant pandas spent
 most of their lives alone, with males and females 
meeting only during the breeding season. Recent studies
 paint a different picture, in which small groups of 
pandas share a large territory and sometimes meet 
outside the breeding season. Much remains to be learned 
about the secret lives of these elusive animals, and 
every new discovery helps scientists in their battle to 
save this species.

Source of information found in 5,6,7,8 and 9 is
(10) A panda may eat 12-38 kg. of bamboo a day.
(11) Pandas are good tree climbers.
(12) When breeding, pandas require 30 square kilometers
to support them over the short term.
(13) Adult pandas have very few natural enemies. The few animals
 that will prey on pandas are: jackals,leopards and the 
yellow-throated marten ( a relative of the weasel that 
sometimes eats panda cubs.

Source of information found in 10,11,12 and 13

(14) The giant panda is the rarest member of the bear
family and is among the world's most threatened animals.

(15) Today, the giant panda's future remains uncertain.
As China's economy continues rapidly developing, this
member of the bear family faces a number of threats. 
Its forest habitat, in the mountainous areas of southwest 
is increasingly fragmented by roads and railroads. Habitat 
loss continues to occur outside of protected areas,
while poaching
remains an ever-present threat.

Source of information found in 14 and 15 is

Source of image of Giant Panda:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.