Audience versions of this page: FamilyGiant pandas are one of the rarest animals on Earth. With a species range once extending thousands of kilometers, today they are confined to a few pockets of bamboo forest.Our video, part of Nat Geo WILD’s “Destination Wild” series, complements our map of the giant panda’s current and historic ranges, and an outline of the categories and criteria of endangered species.Use these resources to help answer questions in the Questions tab. Then, read some Fast Facts about these “shy, elusive, and gentle” creatures.
According to the video, pandas once roamed “from Beijing to the Himalayas.” What modern-day nations did this species range include? (Hint: Take a quick look at the giant panda layers on our MapMaker Interactive.)
About 1,850 giant pandas are alive in the wild, and about 300 live in captivity. Based on our “Endangered Species: Categories and Criteria” outline, this places giant pandas in what category of endangered species: vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, or extinct in the wild?
China is taking a two-pronged approach to panda conservation. What are the two strategies Chinese conservationists are using to protect the giant panda?
Pandas are a species of bear. They are most closely related to the spectacled bear of South America.
Pandas do not live in dens or other permanent homes. They sleep and raise their cubs under trees, stumps, or cliffs.
Unlike many bears, pandas do not hibernate. During the cold season, they simply migrate to warmer territory.
Pandas are omnivores. Besides bamboo, they will eat grasses, fish, eggs, and grubs (worms and insects). In captivity, pandas will also eat honey, fruit, and specially made “panda chow.”Bamboo leaves and shoots (new growths) make up 99% of a panda’s diet.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry bamboo Noun
type of huge, woody grass.
confinement or imprisonment.
to complete or make a positive addition to.
to limit or enclose.
management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
Encyclopedic Entry: conservation criteria Plural Noun
set of standards or rules.
protected shelter of a wild animal.
difficult to capture.
endangered species Noun
organism threatened with extinction.
Encyclopedic Entry: endangered species extend Verb
to enlarge or continue.
ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.
to reduce activity almost to sleeping in order to conserve food and energy, usually in winter.
to move from one place or activity to another.
organism that eats a variety of organisms, including plants, animals, and fungi.
Encyclopedic Entry: omnivore rare Adjective
unusual or uncommon.
newly sprouted plant or plant growth.
species range Noun
native, geographic area in which an organism can be found. Range also refers to the geographic distribution of a particular species.
Encyclopedic Entry: species range territory Noun
land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.
vulnerable species Noun
level of conservation between "near threatened" and "endangered." Vulnerable is the lowest of the "threatened" categories.