Appendix: Why does the giant panda heavily rely on bamboo?
The answer is simple: availability. The bamboo is one of the commonest plants in the conifer and mixed conifer and broadleaf forests that are the pandas primary habitat. Bamboo is also evergreen. It may lose some of its leaves during the autumn and winter but the green canopy of leaves can be seen pushing through the snow in even the coldest months of the year. For an animal looking for a plentiful regular food supply, the bamboo is ideal.
|Many animals will occasionally feed on bamboo, especially the shoots. However, few eat large enough quantities to make any serious impact on the supply of food for pandas|
Also, very few animals choose bamboo as their staple food, it is because the bamboo is a hard plant to love. It is not very palatable, sambar and tufted deer, serow and golden monkey may occasionally feed on bamboo leaves and tops of old shoots, but apart from bamboo rat, very few mammals can stomach bamboo in large amounts. For the giant panda that has found a way to survive on the plant, a lack of interest from other species is a positive advantage, due to no competition for the food resource. Therefore, they choose bamboo.