A STUDY ON THE AGE AND POPULATION COMPOSITION OF THE GIANT PANDA BY JUDGING DROPPINGS IN THE WILD
HU Jinchu (Nanchong Normal College, Sichuan)
It is very difficult to study the age and population composition of the giant panda, as they live in bamboo thickets, being a sparse population. In the Wuyipeng study area in the Wolong Natural Reserve, Sichuan. We created 7 trails through panda habitat. Along these trails we could carry out number estimation and collected fresh droppings of different individuals. The sizes of the droppings and 30 undigested bamboo stem fragments in the droppings were measured. The undigested bamboo leaf fragments were also measured at random. Thus the age of each animal could be determined. On the basis of the measurement and ecological information taken, the giant panda were put into 4 age-groups i.e., cub, juvenile, adult and senile. The determinations were approved by comparison between the droppings and bamboo fragments with those of the known aged giant pandas both in wild and in captivity. The age composition of the population of giant panda in Wuyipeng study area is relatively stable. The percentages of the giant pandas of different age groups show the characteristics of longlived animals.