Giant_Panda_Tai_ShanNow that school’s starting, what’s your kids’ favorite thing to find in their lunch bag? Sandwiches, vegetables, fruit, chips—there’s a lot to choose from! But for pandas, there’s pretty much only one thing on the menu: bamboo! The round faces that we all love are due to pandas’ strong jaw muscles for chewing tough bamboo stalks. This fast-growing grass is crucial to pandas’ lifestyles. Since it’s not very rich in nutrients, eating becomes pandas’ full-time job so that they stay healthy.
Pandas’ dependence upon bamboo has put them at risk— the bamboo forests where they live provide almost their entire diet, and those forests are being destroyed by humans. Losing their food and homes has led to pandas becoming endangered. And while the bamboo forests of China are probably far from your home, the threat of endangerment is present for species that live near you too. Can you and your family identify things that you can do to help the environment and protect animals near you?

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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