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Endangered Species Wednesday: Pandas

Just like our Friday series, TGIF Keen & Green Celebs, on Wednesdays we will now be profiling an endangered species.  We'll begin with one of the cutest:  pandas.  

Pandas are big, adorable, bamboo-eating bears native to central-western and southwestern China.  

Did you know?

Pandas are bears.  For a while, they were thought to be part of the raccoon family, but molecular studies have revealed that pandas are, indeed, bears.  

How many pandas are left?

There's conflicting info on this one.  I've read 1500-3000.

In captivity:  

You can see pandas in zoos all over the world, from China to America to Spain.  Most American zoos need to strike deals with China in order to keep them in a zoo.  Check out this list to see which zoos currently have pandas.  

Relatives and Ancestors:

Pandas are the only living species in the genus Ailuropoda in the subfamily Ailuropodinae.  The earliest known ancestor of pandas is the Pygmy Giant Panda, which lived about 2 million years ago.

Why are pandas endangered?

Four reasons:  low birth rates, lack of bamboo, habitat loss, and hunting.  

How can I help?

You can help the San Diego Zoo's conservation efforts through their Animal SOS campaign.   You can also donate or adopt a panda at Pandas International.