Climate change isn’t affecting just the weather – experts are pointing to this as an explanation for Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter that followed – but it’s also threatening the existence of pandas (an already endangered species).
A new study  found that the bamboo population in an isolated region of China, home to nearly 20 percent of the world’s giant pandas, will be destroyed as a result of climate change. According to predictions , almost all livable panda habitat will disappear from China’s Qinling Mountains by the end of the 21st century. (What the what?)
We pulled some top findings/suggestions from the study.
- 99 percent of food that pandas in the wild eat is bamboo. Scientist predictions for the future of the three bamboo species found in the region: between 80 to 100 percent would disappear.
- Bamboo plants are highly sensitive to temperature change. And since the Qinling Mountains are isolated from other suitable habitats, it would be unlikely for a new species of bamboo to grow there.
- The results also suggest that climate change, along with human impact, should be taken into consideration when determining how to best protect the pandas.
- One possible solution would be to develop a heat-tolerant bamboo species and plant it in the region.
- However, Stanford ecologist Terry Root points out that researchers would still need to ensure that all pandas could receive sufficient nutrients from the plants.
- Research team member Jianguo Liu also pointed out that the long-term solution is not to put the giant pandas in a zoo or breeding - citing genetic diversity, among other issues.
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