09 November 2009

Saving Pandas

by Dr Carla Litchfield

black dog books. Adult's Non-Fiction, Children's Non-Fiction, Australian. Paperback RRP $16.99

Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis

This is another of the rare earth series of books. Proceeds will go to the Conservation Ark, which supports the Wolong Conservation Centre in China. Its aim is to educate children (and adults) about the state of the pandas which are fast diminishing in numbers, by informing them about the reasons they are endangered, how they live, and what can be done to save them.

It begins with Bears of the Bamboo Forests and has photos of the black, polar and brown bears, and the red panda, with a full page photo of the giant panda.

Giant pandas are endangered with less than 2500 adults left in the wild. They spend approximately 12 hours a day eating bamboo which they cut and crush with their teeth and jaws, and which makes up 99 percent of their diet. Because bamboo is low in nutrients and difficult to digest, they rest a lot to save energy. They don’t hibernate in winter but move from the cold to warmer areas. There are nearly 60 panda reserves in China.

The whole book is comprised of these kinds of facts and information about the pandas: how and why pandas get caught in traps set for other animals, what adult males do to leave their scent up trees and why, their mating habits and the songs that can be heard far away during mating time. There’s information on female pandas and their newborns, their care and feeding habits, stats on pandas living in captivity and how they are taught to find food before being released into the wild, and a bit about red pandas that are not part of the bear family.

There is a page at the end with more facts about giant pandas, a glossary and index, and panda websites. The difficult words throughout the book have been set in bold type and the pages are filled with large, luxurious photos of this beautiful animal.

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