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a CBSG Biomedical Survey (2001).

b Juvenile (12-18 months of age); subadult (19 months to 4.5 years); adult (>4.5 years).

a CBSG Biomedical Survey (2001).

b Juvenile (12-18 months of age); subadult (19 months to 4.5 years); adult (>4.5 years).

leaves, branches and culm is higher (% BW) than when consuming only bamboo shoots, presumably because the latter is more digestible, providing more calories per unit consumed.

Digestive capabilities

The capacity of giant pandas to digest a diet comprised exclusively of bamboo or, more specifically, bamboo components (e.g. leaves, branches, culm) has yet to be determined in a controlled environment. However, several scientists have estimated the digestive efficiency of pandas through indirect methods in the field or direct methods when mixed-ingredient diets have been fed in captivity. These data are summarised in Table 6.3, while providing comparative data for the red panda (Ailurus fulgens).

Apparent digestibility is a measure of an item in the feed less that item in the faeces. In contrast to true digestibility, no corrections are made in this measure for dry matter, energy or nutrients in the faeces which originate (a) from the tissues or secretions of the study animal or (b) from microbial organisms within that animal's gastrointestinal tract which would appear in the faeces even when no food is consumed. Apparent digestibility (%) of dietary dry matter (ADdm) is algebraically expressed as:

Table 6.3. Digestive capabilities of the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and giant panda fed various dietsa

Apparent digestibility (%)

Table 6.3. Digestive capabilities of the red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and giant panda fed various dietsa

Apparent digestibility (%)

Diet6

DMI (% BW)

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