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The Giant Panda - The Giant Panda Kelley Benham The Giant...

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The Giant Panda Kelley Benham April 15, 2008
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The Giant Panda, or Ailuropoda melanoleuca , is a mammal in the bear family. They belong to the order Carnivora, however, 99% of their diet is made up of bamboo. They will also eat honey, eggs, fish, oranges, and bananas when available. Males can weight up to 253 pounds and females, a little smaller, can weight up to 220 pounds. They usually live twenty to thirty years in captivity. Giant Pandas have a modified sesamoid bone referred to as their “thumb” that helps hold bamboo. For many years scientists believed pandas lived most of their lives alone. Recent studies now show that a small group of pandas may share a large territory and meet outside of the breeding season. The Giant Panda lives in southwestern and central-western China. Once living in the lowlands, farming, development, and forest clearing have pushed them to the mountains. They are on the endangered species list and have been for many years. The latest report estimates there might be as many as 2,000 to 3,000 in the wild. China has 239 giant pandas in captivity and
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