China: Wild pandas turn carnivorous, fight for meat

  • PTI, Beijing
  • Updated: Oct 06, 2015 13:18 IST
File photo of Giant panda Tian Tian holds a bamboo shoot at Bifengxia panda breeding centre in Ya'an, Sichuan province odf China. (Reuters / China Daily)

Wild pandas at a national nature reserve in northwest China’s Gansu province have been found displaying unusual behaviour such as fighting and eating meat.

Since the beginning of 2014, staff at Baishuijiang National Nature Reserve have been observing the habits of the reserve’s 110 pandas with over 200 infrared cameras.

Reserve manager Yuan Fengxiao said, “In the past, even our staff seldom saw wild pandas, but the infrared cameras have helped us record many valuable images of the animals.”

Over 99% of Panda’s diet consist of bamboo. In one clip, a panda was seen gnawing at the bones of a dead calf.

Researcher He Liwen said that besides bamboo, wild pandas are scavengers and eat meat, but rarely find carcasses of dead animals.

Another panda was seen with a bleeding forehead shortly after appearing on another camera with its forehead intact, probably as a result of fighting with other pandas or bears, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

In another clip, a pair of pandas were wandering in the woods when one discovered the camera and started to chew on it.

Covering over 200,000 hectares, the Baishuijiang is one of China’s largest reserves for wild pandas.

Yuan said that about 500 species of animals and over 2,000 kinds of wild plants have been recorded there.

The infrared cameras have also captured footage of other rare species including the golden monkey and Takin.

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