Giant panda cub in Bifengxia Panda Base, Sichuan, China
© Suzi Eszterhas/Minden Picture
Why does this panda cub look so happy?
This giant panda cub appears to be waving hello from the Bifengxia Panda Base, a research and breeding facility in Sichuan, China. Today, there's an estimated 1,900 pandas left in the wild, living in the mountainous regions of central China, plus another 400 pandas in captivity. Bamboo makes up 99 percent of a panda's diet, and it must eat upward of 30 pounds of the woody grass each day to meet its dietary needs and maintain its cuddly girth. Male giant pandas can register over 300 pounds on the scale; females tend to be 10-20 percent smaller than males. This bamboo dependence presents the giant panda with a predicament, since human development continues to encroach on the bamboo forests of pandas' natural habitat.