The seventh release in the Endangered Species coin collection features one of the rarest of the bear family, the Giant Panda. This peaceful creature with its distinctive black and white coat is found in high altitude forests in the mountains of central China and fewer than 1,000 are believed to exist.
Pandas generally eat in a relaxed, seated posture. While they may appear sedentary, they are skilled tree-climbers and efficient swimmers for their size.
Solitary by nature, Giant Pandas have a highly developed sense of smell that can be used to avoid a rivals territory or find the opposite sex during mating season. At birth, a cub will weigh only 125 g (4.5 oz), around 1/900th the weight of its mother.
While statistics are hard come by due to this animal’s private nature, less than 1,000 Giant Pandas are now left in the wild. Urban development has increasingly fragmented and isolated populations, all the while reducing the Panda’s access to food sources. Poaching remains an ever present threat. While over 50 Panda reserves have been established, this only protects around 61% of the total population.