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"Bamboozled" -- The Discovery Files

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Scientists from Michigan State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences forecast how a changing climate may affect the most common species of bamboo that carpets the forest floors of prime panda habitat in northwestern China.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

(Sound effect: Outdoor sounds) Pandas in peril.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

If you're a panda, you love bamboo. (Sound effect: blender) A bamboo shake for breakfast, (Sound effect: restaurant) hit the bamboo buffet for lunch, (Sound effect: party) happy hour at the bamboo bar, then home (Sound effect: dishes, table set) for the nightly banquet of--you guessed it--bamboo. (Sound effect: panda burp) A study done by Michigan State University scientists and the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows that for the endangered wild pandas of China, climate change could lead to the disappearance of much of this vital food supply, leaving the pandas "bamboozled."

(Sound effect: outdoor sounds, birds) The qinling (chin-ling) mountains in China are home to approximately 275 wild pandas, nearly 20 percent of the remaining wild panda population. The researchers studied possible scenarios of climate change in the region. The team says that even by conservative estimates, bamboo die-off could cause prime panda habitat to become inhospitable by the end of this century. Development and other human disturbances could come into play as well, preventing a clear path for the pandas to find their next food source.

The scientists say we devote a large amount of conservation efforts to this magnificent species and they hope studies like this one help guide us to make wise decisions instead of just--"pandering."

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's national science foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at or on our podcast.

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