Today is International Panda Day. A good excuse to take a look at the cute giant panda. Because pandas eat bamboo and we sell bamboo. But you don't have to worry whether we are a danger to the pandas. The bamboo we sell is a completely different species. We are happy to explain exactly how this works.
What is bamboo?
First, it is important to understand exactly what bamboo is. Bamboo is a grass that grows extremely quickly. In about 6 to 8 months it reaches its full height. Then the bamboo starts to harden and forms into what you can buy from us. In addition, unlike a tree, it grows again after cutting. Bamboo recycles itself, as it were.
Bamboo can be found in many places. In fact, it occurs naturally on 5 continents: Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Australia. In fact, everywhere except in Europe and Antarctica. This means that there are many different species of bamboo. More than 1500! The giant panda only eats 60 species of bamboo. The bamboo that is harvested for commercial or industrial purposes does not even grow in the mountains of central China where the giant panda lives.
The diet of a giant panda
What makes the giant panda's bamboo menu so special is that the giant panda is actually a predator with fangs and the digestive system of a carnivore. However, evolution forced pandas to find a new food source millions of years ago and this is how their appetite for bamboo came about. As much as 99% of a panda's diet consists of bamboo. They eat it almost in its entirety: shoots, stems, side branches and leaves.
The giant panda eats about 60 different kinds of bamboo, but they have their favourites. They know how to find the species with the highest protein content in each area. They also prefer the young leaves as they contain more crude protein than older leaves. They prefer to eat the young bamboo shoots because these are the easiest to digest. These also have the high protein values. Because bamboo is so difficult to digest, pandas defecate very often! Pandas often eat all day long and are not very active. This is because the difficult to digest bamboo provides little energy. To protect themselves from the bamboo splinters, evolution has created a thick mucous layer on the inner walls of the intestines.
So don't worry, we are real panda lovers. Have you ever been to Ouwehands Dierenpark in Rhenen? Here you will find Pandasia. The panda enclosure which has been voted the "most beautiful panda enclosure in the world" for a number of years in a row. Did you know that the bamboo in the bamboo constructions in the enclosure is made with bamboo from Bamboo Import Europe? Because we think it's extremely important that the pandas can enjoy an environment as natural as possible. Even though it's not bamboo they can eat, it still allows them to climb and clamber around. The pandas even enjoyed it so much that a baby panda was born in May last year. This one joins the international breeding programme for the preservation of the giant panda'.
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