The giant panda, scientifically known as Ailuropoda melanoleuca, is the rarest member of the bear family. The habitat is the geographic and economic heart of China. This species can be found living in a few mountain ranges in central China; which is mainly located in Sichuan province, Shaanxi province and Gansu province. The panda’s habitat in the Yangtze Basin ecoregion is shared by both pandas and millions of people who use the region’s natural resources.
On the first sight, the giant panda seems to have a black-and-white coat. An adult panda measures around 1.2 to 1.8 meters in length, this length includes a tail of about 13 cm (5.1 in). The height is about 60 to 90 centimeters at the shoulder. The male panda can weigh up to 160 kilograms. Females, generally being 10–20% smaller than males, weigh from 75-120 kilograms. The average adult weight is about 100 to 115 kilograms. These pandas have a very specialized anatomy linking them to bamboo for survival, like their front paws are specially designed to allow them to hold bamboo stalks. The average giant panda, like other pandas, eat bamboo; and it has to eat as much as 9-20 kg of bamboo shoots a day. Although they are also known to eat flowers, vines, tufted grasses, green corn, honey and rodents.
The Giant panda is an endangered species. Due to farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. At present, an estimated population of around 2,000 pandas is found in the wild. By the end of 2006, there were a reported 180 pandas in captivity on mainland China and about 20 in other countries. Among the conservation efforts, Wolong is famous for its breeding center called the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.