Are pandas only found in China? And why is that? What if we don't return them?

By momoka

Shanshan, a female giant panda at the Ueno Zoo, will be returned to China on the 21st of this month, and Yongming, a giant panda kept at a theme park in Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture, and three others will be returned to China on the 22nd of this month.

Many people feel reluctant to give them up.

Have you ever wondered why pandas are only in China?

This article will show you why pandas are only found in China.

What is a panda?

Panda (panda) is the generic name for two species of pandas belonging to the cat order (Carnivora): the giant panda (bear family) and the lesser panda (red panda family). It is also called a bear cat (shuumao). The term "panda," however, often refers to the giant panda.

The giant panda and the lesser panda are both members of the order Carnivora, but both have adapted to herbivory, although Ledje and Arnason's (1996a, b) molecular phylogenetic analysis has concluded that they are not closely related [2]. Although it is a representative animal of China, its habitat is small, including parts of Sichuan Province, and it is not found in all of China.

Why are pandas only found in China?

Pandas have existed on earth for more than 8 million years and have survived from Europe, including France and Hungary, to Burma and Vietnam. Today, the giant panda is a national treasure of China, and you may be wondering why, of the 233 countries and regions in the world, only China has giant pandas. What has the giant panda experienced in its long history?

According to archaeologists, in ancient times, pandas were found primarily in central and southern China, and at that time their habitat extended outward, reaching its peak in a wide range of environments from Beijing in the north to Burma and northern Vietnam in the south. At that time, pandas were found not only in China, but also in the forests of faraway Europe, in France and Hungary. In prehistoric times, the giant panda was also a carnivore, coexisting with saber tigers, saber elephants, Peking natives, and southerners, and possibly dominating an entire region with its strength.

However, no one could have imagined that this would be followed by the Quaternary Ice Age, when the continental ice caps would expand and thicken, sea levels would drop, massive glaciers and other natural environmental upheavals would occur, temperatures would drop for a prolonged period, and most life on the planet would become tragically extinct. Most of the fauna of the time, including saber tigers and saber elephants, would have declined, and most of the animals would have already disappeared, leaving only countless fossils to prove that they existed in history. The giant panda in the north would have been nearly extinct, the range of the panda in the south would have been quickly reduced, and the panda would have entered a period of historic decline.

The term "survival of the fittest" could not have been more appropriate at the time. Since ancient times, the Sichuan Basin has been a refuge for many species. At the time of the Quaternary Ice Age, the Sichuan area south of the Qinling Mountains was surrounded by mountains and had a complex topography. In addition, the Qinling Mountains and the Daba Mountains, which run east to west, successfully blocked the flow of cold water moving southward.

In the process, the giant pandas spent many years here and gradually adapted to life in the subtropical bamboo forests. The pandas gradually became smaller and smaller, and their originally meat-dependent lifestyle gradually changed to a bamboo-eating lifestyle. In other words, the panda was spared from the Quaternary Ice Age because it was fundamentally protected by the special geographical environment of our country, which was probably the most suitable habitat for the panda at that time.

Why are pandas being returned to China?

Kang Kang and Lan Lan, who first came to Japan in 1972, were gifts to commemorate the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China, but the pandas currently in Japan are all on loan, not gifts. Therefore, even pandas born in Japan are owned by China and must eventually be returned.