Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Endangered Species, Endangered Spaces

Giant pandas are an endangered species. A 2004 census found only about 1,600 wild giant pandas. They live in scattered populations in the mountains of central China, mostly in Sichuan Province, but also in Gansu and Shaanxi Provinces.

Giant pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo. If the temperate bamboo forests in the mountains of central China continue to be cut down, there will be no room for giant pandas in the wild. This is why it is so crucial to support conservation research in China, and why we need to have a population of giant pandas in zoos as an insurance policy against extinction.

Annotated Map of Panda Reserves in China

This animated map shows where the distribution of giant pandas has declined over time in China.

The map labeled Prehistoric Panda Distribution shows the approximate original distribution of giant pandas.

The map labeled Historic Panda Distribution shows the approximate distribution of giant pandas during most of the last 2,000 years.
The third map shows the Current Panda Distribution.