When you refuse to play by the rules
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At the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, DC, a giant panda named Mei Xian gave birth to a cub on Friday. This was reported on the zoo's website. According to his employees, mom and baby are doing well.
Specialists will voice the sex of the newborn a little later. It is noted that the artificial insemination operation took place back in March.
Pandas are very demanding on the conditions of detention and practically do not breed in captivity. Mei Xian became the oldest giant panda in the United States and the second in the world to give birth to offspring. Previously, she already became a mother three times.
The giant panda is a rare animal listed in the Red Book and an unofficial symbol of China. They live in the mountainous regions of central China: Sichuan and Tibet. These animals actually eat only bamboo, only occasionally including other types of plants in their diet. An adult panda eats up to 30 kg of bamboo and shoots per day.
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The giant panda is considered the most valuable species of the bear family. For its specific culinary preferences, it is usually called the bamboo bear. Researchers initially assigned these animals to the raccoon family and only towards the end of the 20th century was it finally assigned to the bear family. Pandas are considered a jewel of China, rare animals and are carefully protected by the state. In this article, we will introduce our readers to interesting facts related to these funny animals.
1. The first time the giant panda was caught only in 1916 with the participation of local residents, but she quickly died. Only 20 years later, one American woman managed to buy a bear cub and bring it to America.
2. The giant panda is one of the rarest animals in the world. She lives only on the territory of the PRC. The main habitat is Sichuan province. Zoologists suggest that pandas may also have remained wild in Gansu province and parts of the Tibetan mountains.
3. The first panda that appeared in a foreign zoo was called Su-ling. She has lived in several zoos in the United States. Only after a fairly long period, after a long search, two more individuals were brought to America, and a little later these bears appeared in London.
4. In the Soviet Union, the first bamboo bear appeared in 1957 in the Moscow Zoo. The panda was a male named Pin-Pin. In 1959, the administration of the Moscow Zoo managed to find another individual for reproduction. The newly acquired panda was named An-An, and she turned out to be a male.
5. For the first time in the zoo, a panda was born in 1963, in Beijing. The bear cub was given birth by a female named Li-Li. The calf's weight was 142 grams. The bear was nicknamed Min-Min. A year later, Li-Li brought another cub, then scientists were able to establish that the period of bearing offspring in pandas is about one hundred and forty days.
6. The peak of activity of pandas is in the evening and at night. The animals are extremely clean and quiet. Bears cannot stand the rain, and try to hide from it.
7. Bamboo bears are extremely careful animals and try to avoid humans. Despite this, Buddhist monks living in the highlands often tame young animals. Pandas often come to monasteries for food alone and in groups.
8. Pandas love to roll head over hills, they have acquired this habit, fleeing from predators. Plus they run surprisingly well. The main natural enemies for bears are leopards.
9. Under natural conditions, the main diet of a bamboo bear is young bamboo shoots and fresh leaves. Besides, pandas love to feast on insects, fish, small rodents.
10. The closest relative of the bamboo bear is the spectacled bear that lives on the western slope of the Andes in the South American continent.
11. The genetic code of a panda and a human is 68% identical, and that of a dog and a bamboo bear is 80% identical.
12. In the summer season, in search of coolness, pandas climb the highlands, located four kilometers above sea level, and in winter they sink eight hundred meters.
13. Adult bears grow up to one and a half meters long and weigh 150 kilograms.
14. Every day panda spends about twelve hours on food and absorbs up to 15% of its own mass.
15. The body of the animal assimilates up to 20% of the absorbed feed.
16. The giant panda, unlike other bears, does not require hibernation.
17. Pandas often reproduce twins, but they feed only one bear cub. The second cub usually dies.
18. After birth, the cub spends with its mother for about three years.
19. The total number of pandas in their natural habitat is approximately 1600 individuals.
20. In China, bamboo bear hunting has been banned since 1962. Violation of the prohibition is punishable by death.
21. The giant panda is considered a national treasure of the PRC.
22. The Chinese government leases pandas to overseas reserves for one million US dollars a year. Moreover, all born panda cubs are considered the property of the Celestial Empire.
23. A newborn bear cub weighs 800 times less than its mother.
24. Pandas have a specific sixth toe, which is the transformed carpal bone.
25. The panda is listed in the Guinness Book of Achievements as the cutest animal on earth.
26. The red panda and the giant panda share the same habitat and diet, and both animals are also endangered.
27. According to legend, the panda was once an all-white bear. When a small girl tried to save a panda cub from being attacked by a leopard, the leopard killed the girl instead. Pandas came to her funeral wearing armbands of black ashes. As they wiped their eyes, hugged each other, and covered the ears, they smudged the black ashes.
28. Pandas can stand upright, but their short hind legs aren’t strong enough to support their bodies.
29. Little pandas are born white, but after a week they acquire their recognizable black and white color.
30. Pandas rely less on visual memory than they do on spatial memory to locate a mate’s home range area and preferred patches of bamboo
31. Pandas are slow creatures, they are capable of developing a very low speed, comparable to a quick step of a person, no more. Although this is still an order of magnitude faster than sloths move (see interesting facts about sloths).
32. The size of an adult giant panda is comparable to that of a brown bear.
33. A baby panda weighs only 150-200 grams at birth.
34. Many Chinese philosophers believe that the universe is made from two opposing forces, the Yin and Yang. The panda is one symbol of this philosophy.
35. For a full and calm life in its natural habitat, an adult giant panda needs about 10 square kilometers of space.
36. In the wild, giant pandas live for 15-20 years, in captivity - a little more. But they are very reluctant to breed in captivity.
37. China does not sell giant pandas but leases them to zoos around the world. Renting one panda brings China about $ 1 million annually.
38. A panda's tooth is 7 times larger than that of a human
39. Every day the panda is busy eating for more than 12 hours and eats about 12-15% of its weight.
40. A panda fur is worth between $60,000 and $100,000 on the illegal trade market.
41. Although a giant panda’s fur looks silky and soft, it is quite thick and wiry.
42. Pandas often give birth to twins, but after giving birth, the panda mother chooses a stronger baby, and the second, left unattended, soon dies.
43. A panda’s throat has a special lining to protect it from bamboo splinters.
44. Pandas have lived on Earth for two to three million years.
45. There are only about 1600 pandas left in the wild.
46. Hunting pandas has been completely banned since 1962, and killing a panda in China can be punishable by death.
47. The word “panda” may have developed from the Nepalese word poonya, which means “bamboo-eating animal” or “plant-eating animal.
48. In summer, pandas can move to an altitude of 4000 meters, fleeing the heat. In winter, they do not hibernate and do not equip a den.
49. An adult panda eats up to 30 kg of bamboo per day.
50. A panda’s entire mating process takes only about two or three days.
At the closed zoo in Hong Kong due to coronavirus, pandas have begun to mate for the first time in 10 years
Two giant pandas, male Le Le and female Ying Ying, have been living in Ocean Park for 14 years. For the past ten years ministers have tried to coerce them into intercourse, but to no avail. And only now, when there were no more visitors, the instinct of reproduction woke up in animals.
The zoo is closed from the end of January. In March, as the employees note, the behavior of the pandas changed - the male began to look for the smells of the female and mark the territory.