Description of Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Ailuropoda melanoleuca is the giant panda, a kind of bear that is native to central-western and south western China. The giant panda has a body shape typical of bears. It has black fur on its ears, eye patches, muzzle, legs, arms and shoulders. The rest of the animal\'s coat is white. Though it is classified among the Carnivora, its diet is mostly bamboo. Occasionally they eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. It lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces. Due to farming, deforestation and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived. The panda is an endangered species, and needs active conservation measures. In 2007, an estimated 239 pandas lived in captivity inside China and another 27 outside the country. Wild populations probably number between 1500 and 3,000. Adults measure around 1.2 to 1.8 meters (4 to 6 ft) long, including a tail of about 13 cm (5.1 in), and are 60 to 90 centimeters (1 ft 10 in to 2 ft 10 in) tall at the shoulder. Males weigh up to 160 kilograms (350 lb). Females are 10â20% smaller than males. The average adult weight is 100 to 115 kilograms (220 to 250 lb). The giant panda has large molar teeth and strong jaw muscles for crushing tough bamboo. In addition to 5 fingers, the paw has a thumb modified from the sesamoid bone. the thumb helps the giant panda to hold bamboo while eating. The giant panda typically lives around 20 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.