" Proportion of bamboo (leaves, branches and culm) consumed in mixed-ingredient diets expressed as percentage of dietary DM; h DMI (% BW), dry-matter intake as percentage of body weight; c Polyethylene glycol.

region. Giant pandas here also consume Phyllostachys nigra, a bamboo species introduced into the habitat and commonly used for feeding pandas ex situ (Edwards, 1996, 2003; Long et al., 2004). Schaller et al. (1985) observed that giant pandas in the Wolong Nature Reserve fed mainly on Sinarundinaria fangiana and Fargesia spathacea with Sinarundi-naria nitida also consumed, but to a much lesser extent. Giant pandas in the Min Mountains consume a single bamboo species, whereas animals in the Liang Mountains forage upon five bamboo species (Qing, 1977).

Bamboo taxonomy has been periodically revised based on new information, creating a long list of species synonyms. Because of earlier poor communication between Chinese and western scientists, different Latin binomials are often used for the same species (Reid & Hu, 1991; Carter et al., 1999). Scientific names here were cross-referenced against the synonym lists compiled by the American Bamboo Society (Shor, 2001) and the European Bamboo Society (Masman, 1995). Table 6.5 lists those species reportedly consumed by free-ranging giant pandas.

A diversity of bamboo species has been offered to giant pandas in captivity, primarily due to logistical and climatic limitations in cultivating some of the bamboo species consumed in the wild. Giant pandas living ex situ have been noted to demonstrate particular preferences for specific bamboo species and portions of species, as well as selecting non-bamboo foods preferentially over bamboo when given that opportunity. However, studies quantifying these preferences and the factors that influence them have yet to be published. Table 6.6 lists species commonly offered to, and consumed by, giant pandas in captivity.

Selected proximate, fibre, mineral and energy concentrations in bamboos consumed by pandas in the field and in captivity are provided in Tables 6.A.1 and 6.A.2 in Appendix 6.A.

Consumption of non-bamboo foods

Although bamboo constitutes the primary source of nutrition for wild giant pandas, other food items are eaten, typically in less than 1% of total food intake (Schaller et al., 1985; Pan, 1988). Giant pandas have been reported to consume more than 25 wild plant species (Schaller et al., 1985) and occasionally animal-based foods (e.g. eggs, small or infant animals and carrion). Consumption of these non-bamboo items is generally opportunistic, and their contribution to the free-living panda's overall nutrient intake is probably insignificant.

Geophagia (deliberate consumption of soils not necessarily associated with a mineral lick) has been observed in at least one giant panda in

Table 6.5. Bamboo species consumed by free-ranging giant pandas, current taxonomic synonyms for those species and regions where found (modified from Carter et al., 1999)

Species name




Bashania fargesii

Chimonobambusa pachystachys

Fargesia denudata

F. ferax

F. rufa

F. scrabrida

F. robusta

Qiongzhuea opienensis Phyllostachys nigra Yushania chungii Bashania fangiana F. nitida Y. confusa

F. spathacea

Sinarundinaria chungii Siria rundirĂ­a ria fa ngia na Sina rundirĂ­a ria nitida

Min, Qinling, Qionglai

Min, Qionglai, Xiangling, Liang

Xiangling, Liang Min

Min, Qionglai Min, Qinling, Qionglai Xiangling, Liang Qinling

Min, Qinling, Qionglai Min, Xiangling, Liang Min, Qinling, Qionglai Xiangling, Liang

Wang, 1989; Li, 1997

Wang, 1989; Li, 1997

Wang, 1989; Li, 1997

Wang, 1989; Li, 1997

Wang, 1989; Li; 1997

Schaller et al, 1985; Pan, 1988; Wang, 1989; Li, 1997 Wang, 1989; Li, 1997 Pan, 1988 Wang, 1989

Schaller et al, 1985; Wang, 1989; Li, 1997 Schaller et al, 1985; Wang, 1989; Li, 1997 Wang, 1989

Table 6.6. Bamboo species commonly offered to giant pandas in captivity (modified from Nickley, 2001)

Scientific name


Bambusa beecheyana

Edwards, 2003

B. blumeana

Liu et al., 2002

B. glaucescens

Edwards, 2003

B. multiplex

Edwards, 2003

B. oldhamii

Edwards, 2003

B. textiles

Edwards, 2003

B. tuldoides

Edwards, 2003

B. ventricosa

Edwards, 2003

B. vulgaris

Edwards, 2003

Bashania fargesii

Edwards, 2003

B. fargiana

Liu et al., 2002


Edwards, 2003


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