Oleg Zabluda's blog
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Giant Pandas, a mother and a baby, in the San Diego Zoo
Giant Pandas, a mother and a baby, in the San Diego Zoo

We have mixed feelings towards Giant Pandas.

On one hand, it's a bear потерявший медвежий облик, which we don't approve of. It's just unbearlike. Polar Bear (Ursus Maritumus) eats only meat. The same exact species, Brown Bear aka Grizzly (Ursus Arctos [1]) also eats some plant food, like blackberries, mmmm. A bear is not very good at eating shoots and leaves [2]. The best animals at it are ruminants (жвачные) like goat/sheep/cow/buffalo/bison/yak, antelope/gazelle, deer/elk/moose, camel/llama/alpaca, and giraffe. Then non-ruminants, like horses or hippos or rabbits. And, almost at the very end, bears. Giant Panda eats exclusively bamboo. And almost all of it, simply passes through the Panda undigested.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for Pandas in this regard. To survive, Pandas have to eat bamboo non-stop all day long. But it's not a problem. There are lots and lots of bamboo in a bamboo forest [3]. Bamboo doesn't hide, doesn't flee and doesn't fight back. It is abundant even in the winter. Bears hibernate not due to cold, but due to the lack of food. When there is food, they don't hibernate. [4] They don't like to move (waste of energy), so they are covered with snow. That's what their luxurious fur is for. So Pandas sit there in the snow, covered by snow, and eat bamboo all day long. Day in and day out. All year long. Very relaxing and meditating.

There are times to feel and behave like a normal bear. And there are times to feel and behave like a Panda bear.

Giant panda eating bamboo in Chengdu
Baby Panda Crawling In A Crib - Chengdu Pandas Research Center

[1] Note the irony. Arctos means "Arctic", "Northern" in Latin, which is not the name of the Polar Bear, which goes by the name "Seafaring" in Latin. The two are the still same species, and still interbreed.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eats,_Shoots_%26_Leaves#Title Russian equivalent "Поливать супом нельзя поливать водой." from my hero Дядюшка Ау http://lib.web-malina.com/getbook.php?bid=3374

[3] We have a small Bamboo grove in Redwood Shores, which we will show you, when you visit.

[4] For example, bears in Tahoe/Yosemite steal food from cars, dumpsters and homes, and don't hibernate anymore. Elsewhere in CA, they still do.

P.S. Still nobody knows what Red Panda is. DNA tests only confused and saddened everyone.


Powered by Blogger