Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species. To survive in the wild, they eat bamboo. Some of the bears eat about 40 pounds of the plant a day! But pandas in eastern China's Qinling Mountains may soon have to find another food to eat. A new study in the science journal Nature Climate Change reports that warming temperatures may cause the loss of most of the region's bamboo.
A team made up of people from Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied the effects of climate change on the spread and growth of the region's three main bamboo species. Bamboo is sensitive to temperature changes, says Jianguo Liu, one of the study's authors. "Even with a 3.6° Fahrenheit increase in temperature, we found that 80% to 100% of bamboo would be gone by the end of the century," Liu told TFK.
The Qinling Mountains are home to about 270 pandas. That is about 17% of the pandas in the wild. In recent years, China has stepped up efforts to protect pandas from human activity. But Liu says the country must do more, including increase the size of nature reserve areas that protect pandas.
Liu also wants China to reduce its use of fuels that release greenhouse gases. He says the rest of the world should too. "The future of pandas," he says, "is in our hands."
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