Giant pandas can make many different sounds to communicate with one another, two of which sound like a dog’s bark and a sheep’s bleat. Giant pandas maintain contact with each other mainly through scent, but also through sight and sound. They have a very keen sense of smell and hearing. Giant pandas are extremely short sighted. This is a genetic condition caused by their natural habitat of dense forests in high mountains.


Adult giant pandas have 42 teeth with a unique physical feature that helps them to crush and eat bamboo – they have broad, flat molar teeth.


Giant pandas love getting into the water to wade and swim, especially during the hot summer. Giant pandas love to play. They are expert tree climbers and have excellent balance, often seen perfoming acrobatic movements on tree branches.


The body length of an adult giant panda ranges between 120 -190 centimetres, and their adult weight can be between 85 and 150 kilograms. New-born panda cubs weigh between 51 and 225 grams, approximately 1/900th of their mother’s weight!


Giant pandas are actually bears and are among the oldest species on earth. They are reputed to be ‘living fossils’, having been on Earth for more than eight million years. The average life expectancy of a wild giant pandas is around 25 years while the current longevity record in captivity is 37 years. The oldest panda ever in captivity is Jia Jia, a female giant panda, born in 1978. She has been living at Ocean Park in Hong Kong since March.



Giant pandas used to live across most areas of China, ranging from Zhou Kou Dian in Beijing to provinces such as Guangxi, Guangdong and Yunnan, as well as in neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia like Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Nowdays, the wild giant panda population is limited to six mountain ranges in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi in Western China, a territory much smaller than their original one. Most of the captive giant pandas in the world reside at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Located in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, this panda home is placed squarely in the middle of the giant panda’s native habitat. 

Dujiangyan Field Research Center for Giant Pandas, know as Giant Panda Valley was established under Chengdu Research Base in 2012. It is both a research platform and a demonstrative base for science education and conservation, serving as a bridge for captive pandas to return to the wild and renovate the wild population.

1. Adelaide Zoo – Adelaide, Australia

2. Schönbrunn Zoo – Vienna, Austria

3. Pairi Daiza - Belgium

4. Toronto Zoo – Toronto, Ontario Canada

5. Zoologischer Garten Berlin – Berlin, Germany

6. ZooParc de Beauval - France

7. Adventure World Shirahama – Nanki-Shirahama, Wakayama, Japan

8. Kobe Oji Zoo – Kobe, Japan

9. Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo – Toyko, Japan

10. Zoo Negara Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

11. Chapultepec Zoo – Mexico City, Mexico

12. Edinburgh Zoo – Edinburgh, Scotland

13. River Safari - Singapore

14. Zoo Madrid – Madrid, Spain

15. Taipei Zoo – Taipei, Taiwan

16. Chiang Mai Zoo – Chiang Mai, Thailand

17. Washington D.C. Zoo - Washington DC, United States of America

18. San Diego Zoo - San Diego, CA, United States of America

19. Zoo Atlanta - Atlanta, GA, United States of America

20. Memphis Zoo - Memphis, TN, United States of America

Zoos in China
1. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
2. China Conservation & Research Centre for the Giant panda
3. Beijing Zoo
4. Chongquing Zoo
5. Fuzhou Panda World
6. Shaanxi Wild Animal conservation Research Centre
7. SAR Hong Kong: Ocean Park
8. SAR Macau: Seac Pai Van Park

Panda Reserves
• Bifengxia Panda Center
• Gengda Wolong Panda Center
• Hetaoping Wolong Panda Center

There are over 1,800 pandas living in the wild today with around another 300 living in zoos and breeding centers around the world. Thanks to the work of the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, more than 113 Giant Pandas have been born in captivity since the first successful artificial insemination in 1980.

Giant pandas favour bamboo forests the most as the air is fresh, mildly humid and cool. Being surrounded by an abundance of food and shelter is also a neccessity.

The giant panda is a vulnerable species. The reason giant pandas are so elusive is because they’re fussy about where they live – the temperature needs to be just right and the food, abundant.

Get the lowdown on caring for a big and cuddly giant panda. Hint: have lots of food.


Wild pandas include fruit and other plants in their diet, like the kiwifruit, grasses, shrubs and trees. Pandas at the Chengdu Panda Base are also provided with nutritious panda cakes, vegetables and a selection of fruits to build a more balanced and healthy diet.

It’s not just the lack of habitat and food resources that threaten the giant panda. They are susceptible to illnesses such as the flu, diarrhoea, pneumonia, tumours and canine distemper, a highly contagious disease of wild and domestic carnivores caused by a virus, which poses a great threat.

Giant pandas eat almost 60 types of bamboo, but bamboo shoots are their favourite! Bamboo shoots have a higher content of water, nutrients and sugar compared to the other parts of the bamboo.

As babies, giant pandas are weaned on their mothers milk, but quickly move on to solid food like umbrella bamboo, which is one of their favourites. They occasionally eat meat as they have a suitably short digestive tract, structured similarly to that of other carnivores.

Giant panda cubs need a lot of care and attention 24/7, and even more so in captivity.


Giant pandas usually give birth to one or two cubs at a time, with the gestation period ranging from 83 to 200 days. The probability of captive giant pandas giving birth to twins is around 50%.

Wild giant pandas give birth in large hollowed-out trees and caverns.

Panda cubs are born white, with their eye patches becoming black four to five days after birth. Their full black and white colouring comes in by their 30th to 38th day of being born.

Giant panda cubs may be tiny when born but they grow very fast after birth. Their weight increases by an average of about 71 grams every day, and may gain up to an average of 110 grams per day when they are about half a year old.

Baby giant pandas feed on their mother’s milk that is rich in nutrients, which will help them resist diseases.

Giant panda cubs learn a lot of survival skills from their mother. They gradually learn how to walk by 90 to 120 days after birth, and can climb trees by six months. They are also taught how to spot good bamboo and avoid danger.

Wild giant panda cubs leave their mother to live independently by the time they turn two.

Together we can all work to ensure a safer and better future for the giant panda


With many global efforts being made to help the giant panda, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is one of the pioneers in protecting this endangered species. Set up in 1987 to rescue and protect giant pandas, the focus is currently on helping the giant pandas reach a desired population level, after which the Chengdu Panda Base will help captive giant pandas adapt to their natural habit and release them into the wild.


As one of the major institutions taking the lead in conducting ex-situ conservation of the giant panda; the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding has developed the world's largest artificial breeding population of captive giant pandas with 113 existing ones through efforts of over 20 years.

The Chengdu Panda Base always adheres to it’s fundamental principles, primarily to, never capture wild population from field. Focused on breeding and rearing of giant pandas, staff members actively conduct scientific research, and apply these results to increase population quantity and improve population quality.