Today is International Panda Day. A good excuse to take a look at giant pandas. Because pandas eat bamboo and we sell bamboo. Still, you don't have to worry about us being a danger to pandas. Because the bamboo we sell belongs to a completely different species. We'll explain exactly how it works below.
What is bamboo?
First, it is important to understand what exactly bamboo is. This is because bamboo is a type of grass that grows extremely fast. In about 6 to 8 months, it has already reached its full height. Then the bamboo begins to harden and form into what you can buy from us. In the process, unlike a tree, it grows back after being cut down or, better yet, mowed. Bamboo is a grass and therefore can be mowed without any problems.
Bamboo can be found in many places around the world. Of course, even on 5 continents: Africa, Asia ́, South America, North America and Australia. So basically everywhere except Europe and Antarctica. This means that there are also many different types of bamboo. As many as 1,500.The giant panda eats only 60 species of bamboo. The bamboo that is harvested for commercial or industrial purposes doesn't even grow in the mountains of central China, where the giant panda lives.
The menu of a giant panda
What makes the giant panda's bamboo menu special is that the giant panda is actually a carnivore with canine teeth and the digestive system of a carnivore. However, evolution ensured that pandas were forced to find a new food source millions of years ago, and thus the appetite for bamboo was born. Up to 99% of a panda's diet consists of bamboo. They eat it almost completely: Shoots, stems, side branches and leaves.
The giant panda eats about 60 different species of bamboo, but they have their favorites. So in each area they know which species has the highest protein content. They then also prefer the young leaves because they contain more crude protein than older leaves. They prefer to eat the young bamboo shoots because they are the easiest to digest. These also have the highest protein content. Because bamboo is so hard to digest, a panda must have bowel movements very often. Pandas often eat throughout the day and have very little activity. This is because the hard-to-digest bamboo also provides very little energy. To protect themselves from the bamboo shards, evolution has provided a thick layer of mucus on the inner walls of the intestines.
No need to worry, we are real panda lovers. Have you ever been to the Ouwehands Dierenpark in Rhenen? There you will find Pandasia. The panda enclosure that has been voted "the most beautiful panda enclosure in the world" several years in a row. Did you know that the bamboo for the constructions in the enclosure is made with bamboo from Bamboo Import? Because we too think it's super important for the pandas to enjoy as natural an environment as possible. Even though it's not bamboo they can eat, it allows them to climb and scramble around. In fact, the pandas had so much fun that another baby panda was born last May. This is also part of the international breeding program to preserve giant pandas.