What’s Black, White and Endangered?
By Sarah Ford on June 24, 2014
Source: Morris Animal Foundation
With roughly 1,600 panda bears left in the wild and fewer than 400 in captivity, these animals need help to survive. Morris Animal Foundation has been helping to improve panda health since 2000.
Pandas rarely reproduce in captivity, which is why the birth of Tai Shan at the National Zoo (Washington, DC?) in 2005 made world headlines. Some of the Foundation’s earliest funding played a role.
Foundation support also helped scientists at the Atlanta Zoo better understand the reproductive biology and behavioral development of male pandas. Additional funding helped researchers at the Smithsonian Institute improve sperm-freezing methods for artificial insemination and sperm banking.
More recently, research has focused on the nutritional needs of pandas in captivity. Giant pandas have the digestive tract of a carnivore, yet they subsist on an almost entirely bamboo-based diet.