Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Start to Blog Posting for the Four Thirsty Pandas

To start our blog postings it seems necessary to talk about pandas, since we are the four thirsty pandas. We would really hope that everyone out there knows that pandas are black and white, you may not know how they’re coloration is but simply put they are white, black, white, black. Currently worldwide there are around 1600 pandas in existence, with around 160 being in zoos and breeding centers (1). It seems that pandas can live to the ripe age of 35 in captivity, but the last known panda age death was at 28, so no definitive lifespan has been really given to pandas (1). Knowing the lifespan of pandas can be really helpful in conservation of them because pandas don’t become reproductive until the ages of 4-8 and become infertile around the age of 20 (1). So in the lifespan of a female panda it's estimated that she can only have 5-8 cubs, since the cub will stay one to three years with her (1). Other facts about the panda can be found at this website.

When one thinks of pandas, they usually associate bamboo with the pandas since that is really all they eat. In the wild bamboo does constitute 99% of their diet with the other 1% coming from rodents or other small animals that they may eat. Recently, the entire genome of the panda has been discovered. A 3-year-old female panda named Jingjing has been used to catalog a pandas’ genome (2). Some of the most interesting aspects found were that pandas do indeed have the genes to digest meat, but not the ability to taste meat (2). This gene is called the T1R1 gene (2). Along with that compared to the human genome the panda possess a fraction of the genes, which is roughly 21,000 genes (2).