Giant pandas more resilient to change than other endangered animals

New genetic data gathered from wild pandas can be used to help develop captive breeding programs that help perpetuate diversity.

The giant panda’s immune system is fairly diverse, genetically speaking, suggesting the endangered species may be more resilient to environmental change than previously thought, scientists say.
Biologists estimate that only about 1,500 giant pandas live in the wild today, confined to six isolated mountain ranges in south-central China. Panda fossil remains suggest the charismatic bears once roamed through parts of Burma and northern Vietnam as well, but have since suffered from environmental change and habitat fragmentation, and have been listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature since 1990.

Researchers based at Zhejiang University in China who were interested in determining the genetic diversity within the dwindling wild population recently collected genetic material within either the blood, skin or fecal materials of 218 wild pandas from all six isolated mountain ranges the bears now roam.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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