: a large black-and-white mammal (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) of chiefly central China that feeds primarily on bamboo shoots and is now usually classified with the bears (family Ursidae) —called also giant panda
Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)—Tom McHugh/Photo Researchers
Species (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, family Ursidae) of white-and-black forest-dwelling carnivore, found in central China, that subsists almost exclusively on bamboo. Because they cannot digest cellulose, wild pandas (of which there are about 1,600) spend as much as 16 hours a day eating up to 40 lb (18 kg) of bamboo leaves, stems, and shoots to obtain needed nutrients. More than 120 individuals live in captivity, mostly in China. Large males may attain 6 ft (1.8 m) in length and weigh more than 220 lb (100 kg); females are usually smaller. Giant pandas live alone except when breeding. They have a slow reproductive cycle and are difficult to breed in captivity.