Agence France Presse
Published — Tuesday 13 November 2012
Last update 12 November 2012 10:17 pm
PARIS: Their numbers already threatened by a slow breeding rate and rapid habitat loss, China’s endangered giant pandas now also risk losing their staple food, bamboo, to climate change.
A study in China’s northwestern Qinling Mountains, home to around 270 pandas — about a fifth of the world’s wild population — predicts a “substantial” bamboo decline this century as the globe warms.
“The pandas may face a shortage of food unless they can find alternative food resources,” a team of researchers from the United States and China warn in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The international symbol of environmental conservation efforts, the giant panda is a picky eater. Ninety-nine percent of its diet consists of bamboo — devouring up to 38 kilograms (84 pounds) per day. This means the iconic black-and-white bear’s survival is closely linked to a thriving bamboo habitat.