Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Base
The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is a must for you to visit during your stay in Chengdu. The base is a good place to enjoy cute giant pandas, from the proper center of the city, people need to drive about 30 minutes to get there, a place a little far from the noise of the prosperous human activities.
Now in this research center, there are 28 pandas, among them are 4 young pandas - till September, 2002, they are 1 year old. In August, 2002, another 4 cubs were born.
The panda has long been associated with China, and although they are no longer given as gifts to visiting officials, China's pandas still face the grim problem of going to extinction. The Museum here graphically details reproductive problems which the bears are facing and for this reason, a large Breeding ground was built in the site. Researchers here recently announced that they plan to give the pandas the drug Viagra in an attempt to raise its numbers. These creatures are notoriously reluctant to breed and scientists hope that by giving the pandas Viagra, they will boost the bear's sex drive and improve the chances of reproduction.
Giant Panda Museum is the unique museum set up in city area for Giant Panda in the world, it collects and shows fruits of human knowing, reviewing and researching Giant Panda. The Museum shows almost 300 rare, fine pictures and scientific, full & accurate charts about Giant Panda exhibits literatures and monograph on Giant Panda at all times and in all over the world; shows practicality specimen of Giant Panda from fossil to every part dissection, dejection and main food bamboo etc. The Museum also built many large zoology scope - boxes with an area of 300m2, such as remote antiquity Giant Panda zoology environment, Giant Panda danger situation, Giant Panda zoology environment in Qinling, Liangshan, Xiangling, Minshan, Qionglai Mountain. The Museum systematically and completely introduces Giant Panda's evolution, ancient and nowadays distribution in general situation, cognition and research of human to Giant Panda wild zoology habit, dissection biology features, wild protecting Giant Panda, fruits of human breeding Giant Panda moving cases of the whole world people loving and caring Giant Panda etc; let people roundly know Giant Panda understand efforts made by our government to protect and save the animal which is loved by people all of the world and in danger condition; consciously arose the feeling to love and protect Giant Panda and nature.
Giant pandas are found only in the mountains of west China - in such small isolated areas as to the north and central portions of the Sichuan Province, in the mountains bordering the southernmost part of Gansu Province and the Qinling Mountains of the Shaanxi Province.
Giant pandas live in dense bamboo and coniferous forests at altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. The mountains are shrouded in heavy clouds with torrential rains or dense mist throughout the year.
Ancestors of the giant panda existed in the mid-Miocene Era (about 3 million years ago), when their geographic range extended throughout southern China. Fossil remains also have been found in present - day Burma and Vietnam.
Giant pandas are bear-like in shape with striking black and white markings. The ears, eye patches, legs, and shoulder band are black; the rest of the body is whitish. They have a thick, woolly coat to keep them from the cold. Adults are 4 to 6 feet long and may weigh up to 350 pounds - about the same size as the American black bear. However, unlike the black bear, giant pandas do not hibernate and cannot walk on their hind legs.
The giant panda has unique front paws - one of the wrist bones is enlarged and elongated and is used like a thumb, enabling the giant panda to grasp stalks of bamboo and climb trees. They also have very powerful jaws and teeth to rush bamboo. While bamboo stalks and roots make up and 95 percent of its diet, the giant panda also feeds on gentians, irises, crocuses, fish and occasionally small rodents. It must eat 20 to 40 pounds of food each day to survive, and spends 20 to 16 hours a day feeding.
The giant panda reaches breeding maturity between 4 and 10 years of age. Mating usually takes place in the spring, and 3 to 5 months later, one or two cubs weighing 3 to 5 ounces each is born in a sheltered den. Usually only one cub survives. The eyes open at 1 - 1/2 to 2 months and the cub becomes mobile at approximately 3 months of age. At 12 months the cub becomes totally independent. While their average lifespan in the wild is abut 15 years, giant pandas in captivity have been know to live into their 20s.
Scientists have debated for more than a century whether giant pandas belong to the bear family, the raccoon family, or a separate family of their own. This is because the giant panda and its cousin, the lesser or red panda, share many characteristics with both bears and raccoons, Recent DNA analysis indicates that giant pandas are more closely related to bears and red pandas are more closely related to raccoons.