China's endangered pandas face bamboo shortage threat
PARIS (AFP) - Their numbers already threatened by a slow breeding rate and rapid habitat loss, China's endangered giant pandas now also risk losing their staple food, bamboo, to climate change, a report said on Sunday.
A study in China's north-western Qinling Mountains, home to around 270 pandas - about a fifth of the world's wild population - predicts a "substantial" bamboo decline this century as the globe warms.
"The pandas may face a shortage of food unless they can find alternative food resources," a team of researchers from the United States and China warn in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The international symbol of environmental conservation efforts, the giant panda is a picky eater. Ninety-nine per cent of its diet consists of bamboo - devouring up to 38kg per day. This means the iconic black-and-white bear's survival is closely linked to a thriving bamboo habitat.