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My Research Paper...




http://vanishingspecies.pbworks.com                                                                          Giant Panda


A Species in Need of Saving:

Giant Panda

Some of the most interesting and amazing things around us are animals. We see some species almost everyday, while others try purposefully to stay hidden. One of these animals that we rarely see is the Giant panda. A truly wonderful animal, the Giant panda is only seen by a few people every month. This unique animal will disappear all together if we don’t start taking action today.

Pandas are distinct animals that have characteristics fit to their habitat and behavior. One of these characteristics is how it got its name. The Giant panda got its name so it would be easy to tell apart from the Red panda. Even though a Giant panda’s main food source is a type of grass, Giant pandas are classified as carnivores, because they sometimes eat small animals. The average adult male panda weighs 240 pounds, and the average adult female panda weighs around 200 pounds. When kept in captivity, pandas tend to weigh more, some reasons being they don’t have to hunt for food or look for mates. A Giant panda has features that are adapted to their diet. They have a very strong sense of smell for finding their food at night, and pandas are also able to detect danger and other pandas through hearing. Their thick fur is oily to keep water off them in their damp climate and is arranged in a black and white pattern to help camouflage them and scare off enemies (the black eye patches enlarge the appearance of their eyes, which can frighten their enemies). Pandas also have an extra digit, or toe, which helps them grip bamboo stalks. Some scientists think Giant Pandas carry extra oxygen in their blood to survive in the thin mountain air. These are just some of the characteristics pandas have and need to survive in their everyday life.

Pandas living in the wild are found in China’s mountain forests. Each panda has its own defined territory where it eats and sleeps, although, this territory is sometimes left to look for a mate. Giant pandas may have once lived across all of southeastern China and maybe even as far as Myanmar and Vietnam, although they moved to colder areas because of temperatures and deforestation. Plants such as bamboo is plentiful and can grow up to 10 ft tall. Trees such as conifers and rhododendrons can also be found there. The climate is cold, and usually misty, rainy, or snowy, depending on the time of year. Giant pandas don’t mind the cold, in fact, they actually enjoy their damp surroundings. The first Giant pandas to arrive in the United States were Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling. They were given as gifts of friendship in 1972 by the Chinese government. According to National Geographic, there are currently nine Giant pandas in the U.S., living in the San Diego Zoo, the Memphis Zoo, and the Atlanta Zoo. All of these pandas are on loan to the zoos from the Chinese government for 10-12 years, after which they will be returned to China.

The Giant panda eats what grows around it, which means it gets 99% of its food from almost 20 different kinds of bamboo, although the Arrow Bamboo is the panda’s main food source. The panda also gets most of its water from juicy bamboo shoots, so it is clear that the bamboo plant plays an important role in the Giant Panda’s diet. Although the bamboo plant does have its downsides as well. After the bamboo flowers, it dies, leaving the panda with no food. Pandas are then forced to travel to a new place where the bamboo hasn’t yet flowered to avoid starvation. The bamboo plant also doesn’t  contain very much nutrition, or at least the part that attracts the Giant panda. Some things pandas eat when not eating bamboo are bulbs, tree bark, large insects, and sometimes even meat. They also eat small rodents, reptiles, and rarely fish. Panda cubs eat bamboo leaves and poles, and adult pandas will even eat the body of a dead animal that they find when the bamboo is not it season. The Giant panda does get most of its water from bamboo shoots, but they can also get it from licking snow. When they are near a river of stream, they will sometimes dig a hole and drink from the water that fills the hole. When in captivity, zoos often feed their pandas a mixture of rice, carrots, apples. honey, bamboo bread, corn, and vitamins, along with an assortment of bamboo. This diet is common for Giant Pandas, whether in captivity or in the vast mountain forests.

Giant pandas are all very different and each has its own way of expressing itself. Although this is true, pandas do have similar behavior. An average day in a Giant panda’s life consists of sleeping ten hours a day, while the rest is spent eating food, playing, and depending on the season, mating. Pandas often sleep in a clump of bamboo, a hollow tree, or an overhanging rock. They do not have a set home, meaning they don’t return to one place every night, instead they sleep when and where they want. During the coldest months on the mountain (or winter), Giant pandas don’t hibernate. This is because bamboo is still plentiful and their thick fur coat is warm enough for them to be out in the snow. Giant pandas are most active at dawn and dusk, and often climb trees when scared or just to look over their territory. Although pandas don’t tend to be protective over their territory, they can get angry when their young, their food, or they are threatened. When this happens, they can become dangerous and vicious. Giant pandas tend to live solitary lives, except when mating. Male pandas have been known to do handstands to impress females, and they will also fight over mates. They will also bark, yip, snort, moo, bleat, and chirp for females. This behavior is not done very often, but it has happened. Another thing that is not done very often is reintroducing pandas to the wild after growing up in captivity, although this is exactly what Mr. Zhang- director of  the Wolong Nature Reserve and the China Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda- plans to do. He will do this by first turning the cuddly creatures they’ve become into aggressive animals that can survive on their own. He is quoted to say, “We need to increase their sense of how to avoid predators and how to fend off attack.” To accomplish this, they have started using police dogs to train the Giant panda, hoping some will join their distant cousins out in China’s mountain forests. These behavioral instincts are the things that set the Giant panda apart from the average bear.

The Giant panda is going extinct, partly because it doesn’t produce enough offspring to keep its numbers high. The average female only raises 4-5 cubs in a lifetime, a reason that this number is so low is because a sow, a female Giant panda, only cares for one cub at a time. If this means letting the other cub starve to death, then so be it. After mating, the female finds shelter, such as a den, and then lines it with bark and bamboo to keep it dry from snow and rain water. Three to five months after mating, the female gives birth and then cares for the cub by herself for up to two years. It will then start the whole process over again by mating in the spring. The first few weeks of a cub’s life are spent in the jaws of its mother. Although this sounds mean and quite painful, this is the most efficient way the mother knows how to not let her baby out of sight and protect it from predators. When the baby can crawl, the mother carries it in one hand while walking on her other three limbs. At ten weeks the baby can take its first steps, and at five months it will trot alongside its mother. Milk is given to the young about 14 hours every day, until it has reached one year and is able to eat the softer part of a bamboo stalk. When pandas reach 4-10 years of age, it is mature enough to mate. It will then continue mating for most of its life, depending on the panda. One thing that is not tried very often is artificial reproduction, although the Cheng du Zoo and Keiser Ueno Zoo have been experimenting with this method for some time. LiLi and SenSen were the first successful artificial reproduction pair in 1963. To do this, certain technology is required to determine the ovulation period of a female, and then to apply repeated artificial fertilization to create the baby. This has worked in several cases and is still being tested in China. Reproduction faults could cause this species to die out, so biologists are trying to find faster and more efficient ways for Giant pandas to reproduce.

Giant pandas are going to be extinct soon if something doesn’t change. There are only about 1,600 left, most of which are living in zoos or nature reserves. A major cause as to why the Giant panda is disappearing is habitat fragmentation, or when an animal’s habitat is split up into small sections. Humans are tearing down the forests where pandas live and turning them into things like houses, roads, and farm land. Deforestation is happening fast, and the panda’s natural habitat in China has shrunk by more than 50%. Some ways people are trying to save the panda’s habitat are planting trees and bamboo and banning commercial logging. Replanting bamboo is a good idea, although once the bamboo is gone, the rain washes the soil away. This makes it hard for new bamboo to grow back. Another problem for pandas is poaching. Of course this has been made illegal, but poachers continue to kill the Giant panda for its warm and waterproof fur. This fur is used for bedding and coats, and are also believed to have magical powers. And even though the list of problems for the Giant panda seems to stretch on forever, there are people out there working towards a better life for all pandas.

The Giant pandas are one of the most amazing animals out there and are in need of our help, otherwise they will disappear all together and our future society will not know what once lived in the mountain forests of China. This great animal is vulnerable and subject to deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and extinction, all because of us. Its time to take action and save the Giant pandas before they are gone forever.



Works Cited:

AskFACES. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2002. Encyclopedia Britannica
    5 February 2004 <http://school.eb.com/comptons/magazine/article?id=45505693

“bear” Compton’s by Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition
    Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011. Web. 21 Apr. 2011 <http://school.eb.com/comptons

“China Giant Panda Museum” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2002. Encyclopedia Britannica
    5 February 2004 <http://www.kepu.net.cn

Claybourne, Anna. Animals Under Threat: Giant Panda
    Chicago, Illinois: 2005

“Giant Panda Species Survival Plan” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2002 Encyclopedia Britannica
    5 February 2004 <http://www.giantpandaonline.org

“How Pandas Reach U.S. Zoos, Why They’re Needed” National Geographic News Online.
    1996 <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news

“panda” Compton’s by Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online School Edition
    Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Web. 21 Apr. 2011 <http://school.eb.com

Penny, Malcolm. Giant Panda
    Chicago: Raintree, 2005

Presnall, Judith The Giant Panda
    San Diego, California: 1998








My science fiction story...



The Teleporting Device

I wake up early, hoping to get a good start on my weekend homework. I step out of bed and walk over to my dresser. I am an early bird and will always be one. Pulling on some clothes, I step into my new teleporting machine. I got it last year for Christmas, having begged for a new one for years. My old one was grey and rusted a little. This one however is my favorite color, hot pink, and even says my name across the top in jeweled letters. It spells A-L-L-I-E, which is short for Alison.

I type in “kitchen” on the keyboard. Taking care to lock the door behind me, I am immediately teleported to my destination. I find my mom in the kitchen preparing breakfast. She puts down a bowl of oatmeal in front of me. I add some freshly cut-up apples and raisins.

My mom tells me I will be going over to the old home today to visit my dying great-great-grandfather. I nod and continue to eat my breakfast. Whenever I go to visit him, he just sits there. I like it when he tells me stories, but that is only when he has enough energy.

When three o’clock arrives, I holler to my mom that I’m leaving and hop into my teleporter. I type in the name of the old home slowly. If you get even one letter wrong, you could end up some place like Pakistan.

I was teleported right into the main lobby of the old home. After checking in, I took the elevator up to my grandpa’s room. I knocked twice and then entered. He was sitting up, propped up on pillows. This was a good sign because it might mean he has enough energy to tell stories.

“Why hello there... Alice?” I smiled at his questioning face. He could never quite remember my name, but often came close.

“Hi Grandpa. How are you?” I walked over to a chair and pulled it up to the side of his bed. He continued to look at me as if waiting for me to say something. He must have forgotten what I had said, so I changed the subject. “Want to tell me a story about when you were a kid?”

He nodded and closed his eyes, deep in thought. Then he began to tell a wild story about “the good old times”, as he called it. It was a story about how when he was a kid, they didn’t have teleporting machines, they weren’t even heard of. They had cars to drive around in instead.

I think I’ve seen an oldcar once in a museum on a class field trip, but otherwise I would never have known they’d existed.

On went Grandpa with his wild story. He said that although cars were nice, they polluted the earth and ran on oil which was expensive. Around 2052, they started experimenting with new machines. These new machines didn’t have all the of the nice features like teleporting machines today, but they ran on only electricity and soon became a hit. They developed the teleporting machine more and more, until, well, here it is today.

After this, Grandpa seemed thoroughly worn out so I thought it was best for me to leave. I said goodbye and saw he was already asleep by the time I closed the door behind me.

I took the elevator back down to the main lobby and stepped into my teleporter. I was teleported back home and found my brother, Gabe, sitting in the living room on the couch. He was watching NFL water football. “Hey, what’s up?” He ignored me and continued to stare blankly at the screen. I walked over to block the 3-D image. Only then did he acknowledge my presence.

I walked into the kitchen and saw my Mom and Dad. They asked me if I wanted to go to the store with them. “Yeah, we have to pick up a few things. Your brother will be home though.” I told them I had to finish up some homework. I knew it wouldn’t matter if Gabe was home or not. If there was a fire, he probably wouldn’t even smell the smoke.  

My parents left for the store and I went up to my room to watch 3-D TV. A few hours passed and I assumed my parents had gotten back already. But, as I walked down the stairs, I realized they were not home yet. I began to get worried, wondering where they could be. I knew notifying Gabe wouldn't make much of a difference. Finally, they arrived home, three hours after they’d left.

They were panting and looked concerned. I frantically asked them where they’d gone and why they’d been out so long. They said their teleporter took them to Canada, twice. The closest they came to our town was a town called Ferritsville. From there, they had to politely asked someone if they could use their teleporter to get back. My parents wouldn’t tell me anymore. I did hear them talking a little about what this means while I was in bed. They sounded panicked and scared.

Later this week, the same incident happened three more times. Once to me (I was going to the mall but ended up at the post office) and twice to my brother. Every time it happened, my parents  talked after Gabe and I had gone to bed. It seemed that everyone we had talked to was experiencing the same difficulties.

It was printed in the paper that the scientists that had recently developed the teleporting machine had no idea why the machines were acting out. We were informed both at school and at home to only use the machines for long trips. For everything else, you would have to walk.

It continued this way for some time. It felt weird not climbing into my personalized teleporter first thing in the morning and instead, having to walk down what felt like the never-ending staircase. Then, a few days later, both Gabe and my parents had to go on a long business trip. Gabe went along because he was studying that place in social studies class and thought it would be helpful to actually visit the place.

They were gone for three days.I stayed with a nearby neighbor. I prayed for them a lot. When the third day came and went, I got worried. When the fourth day was almost over, I broke down and cried. Six days after they’d left, a man in a black suit came to the door. He was very sympathetic when notifying me of my parents’ and brother’s deaths.

Then I got mad. I was mad at the scientists for having created the teleporters. I was mad at the government for having allowed these teleporters. But, I was most angry at the people who believed in these stupid machines, including myself. Why had I let them go on the trip? Why had I not at least tried to convince them otherwise? I thought about writing a letter to the government to voice my concerns, but knew they wouldn’t listen.

The next day in the paper, there was an article that told of the many stories of death from teleporter explosions. The obituaries were almost a mile long. Also in the paper, the scientists are again quoted; this time, they say they are looking into why the machines are exploding.  But, for now, they will have to make a recall.

I sighed, frustrated. It was just a little too late for a recall now. I wondered why, after deciding cars pollute the earth too much, they didn’t invent a car that ran entirely on electricity? Then maybe there would not have been quite so many deaths. And maybe my family would still be alive. Or even better than a car that runs on electricity, why didn’t they just build cities where everything was close enough to walk to? Now that would be the ultimate environment-saver.

But I guess we will never know what would have happened if there was a car built to run on electricity instead of inventing the teleporter. Right now it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that my family is dead. When looking for an answer to the pollution problem, we didn’t realize what we needed was something we already had, this being our own two feet. This simple realization could have saved lives, lives including my parents’.



My Place


If I could go anywhere in the  United States it would probably be Virginia. Virginia is “horse country”, simply meaning there’s enough room to have horses, therefore almost everyone does. The rolling hills make up the beautiful country side and the history is plentiful. Colonial Williamsburg, University of Virginia, and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello are just a few of the wonderful places that are a must see. These are just a few of the reasons why Virginia is where I would go.

(Horse Country)
photo from http://www.charlottesvillehome.org/images/virginia%20horse%20farms11.jpg

Sal’s Place



The Badlands are very special and great! The Badlands are an amazing place to go because the erosion has caused sediment to appear along with beautiful paint colors. Jagged land marks cover a vast area in southwestern South Dakota that will take your breath away. The wildlife at Badlands National Park includes bighorn sheep, deer, prairie dogs, and bison, all of which roam freely throughout the tough terrain. It can be a dangerous place but if you stay on the many trails and roads the Badlands will be a wonderful experience.

some information from: http://www.travelsd.com/Attractions/Badlands-National-Park?WT.mc_id=1021&WT.mc_ev=click&source=TIS-S&WT.srch=1&utm_medium=ppc&utm_source=GooglePPC&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=BHDS2010&gclid=CLjEkfLiuaQCFQtN5wodIjLLyQ



pic from http://www.jdonohue.com/parks/photo/mediumSize/Badlands02.jpg

Comments (6)

Emilyp said

at 2:21 pm on Sep 25, 2010

luv it

Victoria said

at 12:47 pm on Sep 26, 2010


Amna said

at 7:49 am on Oct 13, 2010

U must like horses. Have u ever been to Virginia

Rachel said

at 1:53 pm on Nov 22, 2010

i love ur pic

Victoria said

at 3:52 pm on Nov 22, 2010

thax and ya amna, ive been to Virginia and luved it

AKabodian said

at 5:28 pm on May 8, 2011

Excellent job on your research paper, Victoria!

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