Giant Panda

(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)




Facts about this animal

The Giant Panda is unmistakable (WWF logo). It is a large headed, heavily built bearlike animal with a striking black-and-white colour pattern. The head-body length is up to 160 cm, the height at the shoulder is 65-75 cm and it can weight 75 to 130 kg. The females are about 20 % lighter than the males, but otherwise the sexes are alike.


The coat is harsh, long and dense. The black often has a brownish tinge, and the white becomes soiled in an old coat. Sometimes the white parts are washed with brownish or reddish. Gestation lasts 135 days, the pups are born blind, pink, and weigh about 100-200g. The cubs gain 2.5 kg per month during the first year of their lives. One to two weeks after birth, the cub's skin turns gray where its hair will eventually become black. A slight pink color may appear on cub's fur, as a result of a chemical reaction between the fur and its mother's saliva. The colour pattern is as in the adult. The panda's diet is 99% bamboo, in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. he coat is harsh, long and dense. 

Did you know?
That the most popular name in China for the giant panda is literally "large bear cat", or "bear cat". And that the name may have been inspired by the giant panda's eyes? which have pupils that are cat-like vertical slits – unlike other bear species, which have round pupils


Name (Scientific) Ailuropoda melanoleuca
Name (English) Giant Panda
Name (French) Panda géant
Name (German) Grosser Panda
Name (Spanish) Panda gigante
Local names Daxiongmao, Damaoxiong (Chin.)
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Heather Angel



Range China: about 6000 in Shaanxi and Sichuan. Regionally extinct in other provinces.
Habitat Bamboo forests.
Wild population Approx. 1,000-2,000 (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 242 in 2008, of which 22 reported to ISIS (2008). 67 animal are kept at the breeding centre in Wolong, China. Recent births outside China at Vienna Zoo and San Diego Zoo.

In the Zoo

Giant Panda


How this animal should be transported

There is no Container Note for the air transport of giant pandas in the IATA Live Animals Regulations.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Jeff Kubina

Why do zoos keep this animal

The giant panda is an endangered species with a small wild population. With a view of building up a viable reserve population, an International Studbook has been established already in 1976 under the WAZA umbrella, and coordinated conservation breeding programmes are operated at the regional level by AZA and JAZA.