12 Jan '11, 2am

Giant pandas prefer old forests: study

PARIS: Giant pandas greatly prefer old-growth forests, a finding with repercussions for China's efforts to save the iconic species, according to a study published on Wednesday. Chinese-led scientists sent out field observers across the mountain ranges in southwestern Sichuan province where the panda lives. For four years, the observers recorded evidence of panda habitation, such as droppings and vegetation that had been trampled or foraged, and documented the type of forest where these signs had been found. Pandas, as expected, holed up in places where there was lots of bamboo, which is their staple food. But the team were intrigued to find that an equally important factor in panda numbers was a habitat rich in mature forest, which was far more preferred over "secondary-growth" forest, where trees were regrowing after logging. Bamboo that grows beneath old trees may be mor...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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