The Population and Distribution of Giant Panda
Giant panda is known as the 'recluse of bamboo forest'. It is very hard to obtain the accurate population of giant panda in the wild. In the past, the population of giant pandas was mostly obtained by estimation based on the information gained from the filed survey. Now with the introduction of many new methods, such as infra camera, DNA analysis and satellites, it become easier to work out the population of giant panda. Population survey of giant pandas is usually carried out through the transect method. The survey transect are arranged in accordance with the topography and the landscapes, the vegetation, the distribution of bamboo and the home range of the giant panda.
Different facts are obtained by experts such as , photos from infra-camera droppings, track patterns and bamboo bites. Droppings are also sampled and sent for further DNA analysis. Conclusions will be made on the basis of collected facts. According to the result of the third giant panda census, presently there are about 1,596 giant pandas living in the wild and 161 in captivity.
The Giant Panda Distribution in History
The giant panda used to live in a much wider area than they do now. During the Pleistocene period, giant pandas lived as far as in the southeast of China and in the north of Myanmar. Panda fossils have been found even in Vetnam. Because of the ice age in the Quaternary Period, the habitat of the giant panda gradually became narrower and narrower and now. According to records from some ancient books, about 2,000 years ago, giant pandas were living in many provinces such as Hunan, Hubei, Shanxi, Gansu, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi.
Current Distribution of Giant Pandas
The factors that can change the distribution of giant pandasare environmental variation, catastrophes, activities of human being, natural enemies and diseases.
Mainly because of human activities, now the giant panda have been driven to dwells only in the high mountains and deep valleys in the eastern edge of the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. The range nowadays consists of 41 counties, including 5 counties in Qinling, 13 counties in Minshan, 11 counties in Qionglaishan, and 6 counties in Xiangling and Liangshan. The estimated total number of wild giant pandas is about 1600. Now giant pandas live in the six mountain ranges-- southern side of Qinling Mountains in Shanxi Province, Mingshan Mountains in Gansu and Sichuan, Qionglai Mountains, Major-Minor Xiangling Mountains and Liangshan Mountains in Sichuan, and they are divided into about 20-isolated genus groups.
SOURCE : absolutepanda.com