GI­ANT PANDA

Ail­uropoda melanoleuca

Popular Science - - FEATURES -

HIGHLY SEN­SI­TIVE MAMMALS, PAN­DAS START TO OVERHEAT AT TEM­PER­A­TURES of just 77 de­grees. As cli­mate change drives the mer­cury higher, they run out of cool moun­tain­side refuges to chill in. Forced to climb ever higher for re­lief, Cen­tral China’s roughly 1,800 wild pan­das might even­tu­ally have to move be­yond their only source of food. Pan­das evolved to rely on nu­tri­tion-poor bam­boo, and can only di­gest a tiny por­tion of the quan­tity that they eat. So to sur­vive, they chow down on around 30 pounds of the plant each day. But bam­boo forests are slow-grow­ing and not likely to mi­grate with the pan­das—doom­ing them to a hot or hun­gry fu­ture.

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