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China's giant pandas are running out of bamboo

Pandas are already threatened by habitat loss and a slow breeding rate and now climate change may be diminishing the amount of bamboo in China - they're favorite snack.

panda bambooEnlarge
A new report suggests that climate change is depleting the amount of bamboo in China, directly threatening the sustenance of the endangered giant panda. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A new report suggests that panda bears may be running out of their staple food, bamboo.

Pandas are already threatened by habitat loss and a slow breeding rate and now climate change may be diminishing the amount of Chinese bamboo – their favorite snack.

The result could be catastrophic for the giant panda.

Ninety-nine percent of its diet is bamboo, with the panda eating nearly 38 kilograms per day.

The study found that in the northwestern Qinling Mountains, home to one fifth of the wild panda population, is facing a bamboo shortage linked to the warming of the planet, said LiveScience.

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The Telegraph reported that it is the plant's reproductive cycle that makes it vulnerable to climate change.

The researchers from both the US and China used computer models to look at the survivability of three bamboo species.

The most conservative estimates predicted that with rising global temperatures, most of the bamboo would disappear within the next century.

"It is tough, but I think there's still hope, if we take action now," said co-author Jianguo Liu, of Michigan State University, reported Discovery.

"If we wait, then we could be too late."

The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121111/chinas-giant-pandas-are-running-out-bamboo