Troubling forecasts of bamboo growth in China are worrying panda enthusiasts. Because of its slow reproductive rate, bamboo only flowers every thirty to thirty-five years. That makes it uniquely terrible at adapting to temperature alterations, and since its habitat in the northwestern Quinling Mountains is expected to warm as much as three to eight degrees over the next century, researchers are predicting the three largest bamboo species in the region may all but vanish.

The two hundred and seventy pandas in the region routinely consume more than eighty pounds of bamboo each every day. That’s over ninety-nine percent of their diets, and without it, the animals will starve if they aren’t able to adapt. Luckily, with careful planning and some resource allocation, the pandas could have a lifeline.

There are other places around the Quinling Mountains which may continue to produce bamboo regardless of temperature change. According to The Associated Press, scientists could potentially produce a natural bridge that would allow the pandas to make their way to a more habitable region. This would prevent widespread starvation and potentially offer a long-term plan for sustainability.

In addition to this bamboo problem, panda population growth is also beset by slow breeding rates and deforestation. As one of the cutest animals people care about most, however, it’s very likely people will be very proactive in trying to solve these problems.

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