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Number of panda reserves in China.

A baby panda climbs a tree

Pandas only eat bamboo and are solitary except for when they come together to breed.



Partnership for Pandas

For decades, San Diego Zoo Global has cooperated with partners in China on a successful panda breeding program. These efforts benefit conservation in the wild by enabling us to study maternal care, cub development, mate choice, nutrition, and geriatric care.

Among the things we’ve learned is that there’s a small window of opportunity for successful breeding. Panda females are only fertile once a year, for 2 or 3 days! They have slow reproduction rates, only having cubs once every 2 to 3 years, which makes it hard for the species to bounce back on its own.



Left: A scientist examines a hollow tree trunk used as a panda den in a Chinese forest. Center: Mother panda Bai Yun and one of her cubs. Right: a photo of the Chinese countryside shows how close farms and roads are to panda territory.

Left: a San Diego Zoo Global scientist examines a hollow tree trunk used as a panda den in a Chinese forest. Center: Bai Yun, who helped researchers study giant panda reproduction, with one of her cubs. Right: Many wild pandas live in the Minshan and Qinling mountains of China.


Times a day pandas poop! It helps scientists track them in the wild.

Disappearing Homes

We now know a lot more about pandas than we did in the 1990s. For instance, they need a lot of food—they only eat bamboo!—and are solitary except for when they come together to breed. This means each bear needs a large territory to fulfill their giant appetite. But panda habitats have been destroyed and fragmented by logging and development. Their forest homes are crisscrossed by roads and train tracks, making it difficult for them to move around safely.

Baby panda on a tree branch chewing on a stick

Together, we can
turn things around.

Science to the Rescue

San Diego Zoo Global helped pioneer artificial insemination for pandas, which has been a cornerstone of saving the species. In fact, we were the first to celebrate a successful panda birth through artificial insemination! We continue to work closely with our partners on breeding and reintroduction programs today, ensuring as much genetic diversity as possible. In addition, we support protected reserves in China where pandas can live safely and thrive in their natural environment.


Newborn pandas are the size of a stick of butter: 800 times smaller than their parents.

A baby panda is measured by two veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo Panda Research Center

A baby panda is measured by veterinarians at the San Diego Zoo Panda Research Center.



With help from friends like you, we’ve brought giant pandas back from the brink of extinction. But they still need help if their populations are going to continue to grow. We need your help today!

A photograph of a misty Chinese countryside, where pandas live
rhino mom and baby


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