Giant pandas

Giant pandas

Ailuropoda melanoleuca
VU

IUCN status
Vulnerable
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Giant pandas

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Huan Huan mom of twins!

What emotions !

It was an intense night, full of emotions! Huan Huan gave birth to 2 female panda born on August 2 at Beauval ZooParc. Relive this exceptional birth!

Babies are named!

Yuandudu and Huanlili! These are the official names of the giant panda babies unveiled by their godfather and godmother Kylian Mbappé and Zhang Jiaqi on November 18, 2021, during the Name Ceremony. Organized around 100 days after the birth of babies, this event is a tradition in China and closes the delicate period of the first weeks of life. Now we will have to gradually say “goodbye” to Fleur de Coton and Petite Neige and get used to talking about Yuandudu and Huanlili!

Sortie extérieure jumelles panda géant - ZooParc de Beauval
Sortie extérieure jumelles panda géant - ZooParc de Beauval
Sortie extérieure jumelles panda géant - ZooParc de Beauval

« It is the ultimate “flagship” species. »

Giant pandas

An unusual food adaptation

A vegetarian carnivore!

The giant panda lives in the mountainous regions of China, at altitudes of 1,500 to 3,400 metres above sea level. Although it is classified as a carnivore, it almost exclusively eats bamboo shoots. Its digestive system, however, is still that of a carnivore; it therefore has a limited ability to digest the cellulose in bamboo, which happens to also be very poor in energy. To compensate for this low energy intake, the giant panda eats up to 20 kg of bamboo each day and spends almost 14 hours a day feeding. The rest of the time, it conserves its energy by sleeping for 10 to 20 hours a day!

Beauval Nature finances giant panda reproduction in China

The giant panda is classified as a vulnerable species for two main reasons: “the fragmentation of its habitat” and “its complicated reproduction”, with the female only being in heat for 3 days each year.

The arrival of the pandas at the ZooParc de Beauval in 2012 marked the start of Beauval Nature’s involvement in the conservation of this species. In 2016, Beauval Nature made a commitment to the Chengdu giant panda reproduction base to help finance the reintroduction of pandas in China. Beauval Nature thus purchased 3 GPS collars needed to monitor the animals.

Giant pandas

A look back at the arrival of Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, the stars of Beauval

Since 2012, when Huan Huan and Yuan Zi were first welcomed to Beauval, the appeal of these plantigrades has never waned. They have quickly become the stars of the ZooParc, melting our visitors’ hearts with their agility, appetite, and love of playing and lazing about. 

The popularity of the pandas only increased with the birth of little Yuan Meng in August 2017, which was celebrated worldwide. Let’s hope that 2021 will also be marked by the arrival of a new baby or twins, symbolising the daily work carried out by the ZooParc de Beauval towards the conservation and survival of certain species. On August 2, 2021, Huan Huan gave birth to twin girls! An extraordinary recognition of the daily work of the ZooParc de Beauval teams.

Giant pandas
Giant pandas
Giant pandas

And what about Yuan Meng?

Our young panda is now four years old. He is doing very well and growing. He now weighs over 110 kgs and is playful, lively, and greatly enjoys eating bamboo. Being an adult, Yuan Meng lives separately from his mother as he would in the wild. This is normal for these highly solitary animals. As a matter of fact, apart from during the ovulatory peak of the female, pandas live separately, whether in the wild or in zoos.

Yuan Meng, France's first baby panda - ZooParc de Beauval
Giant pandas
Beauval Nature

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Vulnerable

Learn more about the species

Range
Asia
  • Diet
    Omnivore
  • Gestation period
    3½ to 6 months
  • Litter size
    1 to 3 young
  • Habitat
    Upland forests
An emblem for the protection of species
The giant panda is a “Chinese national treasure” and represents a strong symbol of friendship between China and the countries that house them. Given its rarity and its biological specificities, it has become an emblem in many different fields, particularly regarding the conservation of animal species. Still threatened in its natural habitat, the giant panda has become an international cause. More so than any other species, its presence in zoological parks makes it possible to raise public awareness about the need for commitment to conservation. It is the ultimate “flagship” species.
Tricky reproduction
For giant pandas, reproduction is not easy. This is because the female is fertile for less than 3 days a year… Despite such complications, in 2017 Beauval’s pair of pandas had their first baby, Yuan Meng! The female panda can give birth to 1 to 3 cubs after a gestation period of 3½ to 6 months. At birth, a cub barely weighs 110 grams; its skin is pink and hairless, and it only opens its eyes after 45 days. It is completely weaned at around 1 year of age and can survive on its own at about 18 months old.
A remarkable opposable thumb
The panda has a sixth finger that is opposable to the other five, on its forepaws. It is a modified wrist bone (sesamoid bone) which it uses to grasp bamboo branches, peel them, and bring them to its mouth. This “false thumb” is an astonishing anatomical feature arising from the change in diet experienced by this species during its evolution. The panda is the only animal apart from primates to possess an opposable digit that helps it to grasp objects!

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