Meaning of PANDA in English

Giant panda feeding in a bamboo forest, Szechwan province, China. also called Giant Panda (species Ailuropoda melanoleuca), white-and-black, bearlike mammal found in the forest areas of west-central China and subsisting mainly on bamboo. Once classified with the lesser panda in the raccoon family, it is now usually classified as a bear, family Ursidae. (Its classification as a distinct family, Ailuropodidae, has also been suggested; the panda's skull and dental structures, for example, do not resemble those of bears.) Armand David, a Jesuit missionary, discovered some panda furs in 1869, but no European observed a live giant panda in the wild until the Sttzner Expedition of 191315. The animal once ranged over large tracts of China and Myanmar (Burma), but the human destruction of its forest habitat, combined with poaching, reduced the species to a few small, remote bamboo forests, primarily in mountainous areas of Szechwan province, China, but also in the neighbouring provinces of Kansu and Shensi and along the eastern edge of the Tibetan highlands. The panda is classified as an endangered species, and fewer than 1,000 specimens still exist in the wild; another 100 or so are kept in zoos. The wild areas that pandas inhabit have been set aside by the Chinese government as nature preserves. The giant panda grows to a length of 1.5 m (5 feet) and a weight of about 100 kg (220 pounds). It has a distinctive coloration consisting of a dense creamy white coat of fur marked with a broad black band across the shoulders and forelegs, black hind legs, and blobs of black colour on the ears and around the eyes. It feeds almost exclusively on bamboo and is able to grasp the young stems and leaves of this plant with the aid of a special thumblike structure on its front foot. The panda's broad, massive teeth are well suited for chewing and grinding bamboo plant parts (mostly shoots and roots), but its digestive system is that of a carnivore, and so the animal is unable to digest cellulose, which is the main constituent of bamboo. Consequently, the panda must consume enormous quantities of bamboo in order to obtain from this plant the nourishment it needs; the average panda eats 1530 kg (3366 pounds) of bamboo leaves, stems, and shoots a day, spending as many as 10 to 12 hours feeding. Pandas in captivity, by contrast, subsist happily on a diet of cereals, milk, and garden vegetables. The giant panda has a lumbering gait on the ground but is an agile tree climber. It lives alone except when breeding. Mating usually takes place in March to May, and a litter of one or two young is born in August or September following a gestation of 122 to 163 days. The newborn panda is a tiny, blind, sparsely furred creature weighing only about 100 g (4 ounces), and the mother cares for the helpless and immobile infant by holding it to her chest with her large forepaws. The young panda opens its eyes at about 45 days of age and begins to crawl about at 75 days, at which time it begins to grow rapidly. It begins to eat bamboo at about 5 months of age and adopts a solitary life-style at 18 months; sexual maturity occurs after six or seven years. Pandas in the wild have a slow reproductive cycle, and pandas in captivity are bred only with the greatest difficulty. Thus the species may not be able to replace those members in the wild who are killed by poaching or who are menaced by loss of habitat. Giant pandas in captivity engage in clownish antics that are very appealing to human onlookers, but pandas are actually somewhat irascible, short-tempered animals. The Chinese government has made it a practice to give or lend giant pandas to other nations as a special mark of friendship. Su-Lin, the first of the giant pandas to be exhibited in the West, reached the United States as an infant in 1936 and was a popular attraction at the Brookfield Zoo, near Chicago, until his death in 1938. Two others, a male and a female (at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.), were a gift of the Chinese government to the United States in 1972. Since then, several other zoos have received pandas. also called Lesser Panda, Cat Bear, Bear Cat, or Red Bear Cat (species Ailurus fulgens), reddish brown, long-tailed, raccoonlike mammal, about the size of a large cat, that is found in the mountain forests of the Himalayas and adjacent areas of eastern Asia and subsists mainly on bamboo and other vegetation, fruits, and insects. Once classified as a relative of the giant panda, it is now usually classified as the sole member of the subfamily Ailurinae in the raccoon family, Procyonidae. The lesser panda has soft, thick furrich reddish brown above and black underneath. The face is white, with a stripe of red-brown from each eye to the corners of the mouth; and the bushy tail is faintly ringed. The head and body length of the lesser panda is 5065 cm (2026 inches); the tail is 3050 cm (1220 inches) long; and the weight ranges from 3 to 4.5 kg (6.5 to 10 pounds). The feet have hairy soles, and the claws are semiretractile. The lesser panda lives high in the mountains among rocks and trees and climbs with agility (though its tail is not prehensile). It seems to do most of its feeding on the ground. It is nocturnal and may live alone, in pairs, or in family groups. The litters generally contain one or two young that are born in spring after a gestation period of about 130 days. The animal is gentle and easily tamed but usually resents being handled. It is a very popular zoo animal and is frequently involved in the animal trade.

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