Pandas, Bamboo and Total Cuteness

Pandas live almost exclusively on bamboo.We love the enthusiasm with which Great Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper can sometimes tackle subjects.

Recently, the Mail’s Tracey You and Israeli photographer Dafna Ben Nun visited a panda nursery in China where apparently both were overcome at the general adorable-ness of baby panda bears.

China runs several centers for pandas because pandas are a “vulnerable” species – there are only some 2,200 alive in captivity or in the wild.  (Habitat loss, a low birthrate in both captivity and in the wild are among the major reasons for the small numbers of the popular black and white bear.)

Another major characteristic of the giant panda is its reliance upon bamboo for the vast bulk of its diet. A wild panda eats between 20 and 40 pounds of bamboo every day which represents 99 percent of its diet.

And, although there are plenty of reasons to worry about the ultimate survival of these wonderful bears, diet isn’t one of them. Bamboo is fastest growing plant on the planet, in some cases growing three feet in 24 hours. In addition, bamboo releases 30 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere and absorbs more carbon dioxide than other plants. This means it decreases the amount of greenhouse gases and helps to clean the air. In addition to its role as a source of food for both humans and animals, bamboo can be processed into fiber for various uses including Unicorn Station luxury washcloths, and has a stronger structure than steel.

The Mail’s story on pandas, though, is definitely worth taking a look at…if only to enjoy the enthusiasm of the authors for these charming babies.