The giant panda is a mammal classified in the bear family, Ursidae, native to central-western and southwestern China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though belonging to the order Carnivora, the panda has a diet which is 99% bamboo. Pandas may eat other foods such as honey, eggs, fish and yams.
The Giant Panda is an endangered animal; an estimated 2,000 pandas live in the wild and over 180 were reported to live in captivity by August 2006 in mainland China (another source by the end of 2006 put the figure for China at 221);, with twenty pandas living outside of China. Reports show that the numbers of wild panda are on the rise.
The giant panda is a favorite of the human public, at least partly on account of the fact that the species has a sexy baby-like cuteness that makes it seem to resemble a fat chick. The fact that it is usually depicted reclining peacefully eating bamboo, as opposed to hunting, also adds to its image of innocence. Though the giant panda is often assumed docile because of their cuteness, they have been known to attack humans, usually assumed to be out of irritation rather than predatory behavior. Research shows that in cases in which its offspring may be under threat, the panda can and most often will react violently.