Predators in the wild
Adult pandas have no natural predators in the wild. Thanks to their large size, strong muscles and isolated habitat, the giant panda is king of the hill in its natural home.
Keeping their young protected
The story for panda cubs however is a little different. Cubs are absolutely tiny when born and for the first year of their lives are practically defenseless.
They have to be closely guarded by their mothers to avoid falling prey to other large animals that call China’s mountainous regions home, such as snow leopards, jackals and larger birds.
Some mistakenly think that pandas are actually marsupials, which would mean they guard their young in a pouch, but the bears don’t have this option as they’re actually placental mammals.
Can pandas defend themselves?
In keeping with their cuddly image, the giant panda is generally a peaceful animal that will not seek confrontation even with members of its own species.
However if cornered a panda will act violently to protect themselves or their cubs. As part of the bear family, pandas are incredibly strong and have deadly claws and teeth, backed up by one of nature’s most powerful jaws (just think of all that bamboo they get through).
Why are pandas facing extinction?
Unfortunately the threat of natural predators isn’t the only thing that can bring a species to the point of facing extinction. In reality the biggest threat facing the giant panda is human activity, which is contributing massively to the destruction of the panda’s natural habitat on a mass scale.
Pandas have also come under threat because of poaching. In recent years harsher punishments for poaching in China have helped to curb this problem, but there remains black market trade for giant panda furs.
If you’d like to learn more about why we should save the giant panda, you can here.