A Giant Panda’s Diet: Panda Cakes

Authors: Go Chengdu


Bamboo is not the only food in the eyes of the giant pandas. In Chengdu, pandas also love cakes.

People who are familiar with Chengdu might know there are more than 100 giant pandas and some free-range peacocks in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. In general, they can live together in peace. However, they may occasionally conflict due to the "panda cakes".

Sometimes when the pandas enjoy the cakes in their outdoor enclosures, cake crumbs scatter on the grass. Peacocks would scramble into the enclosures to eat the free and nutrient-rich meal. If the giant pandas are in a good mood, they will patiently allow the birds to enjoy the crumbs. This is not always the case, however, and unfriendly meeting may occur between the two. Cake crumbs battle is the inspiration of the film Kung Fu Panda II.

So, what kind of food is the panda cake?

For captive giant pandas, all food is artificially supplied expect for the occasional grass and twigs eaten by the pandas in their outdoor enclosures. To ensure giant pandas have adequate and balanced nutrients, the keepers also feed them supplements. Panda cake is one of the supplements.
At the Chengdu Panda Base the supplemental ingredients are corn, soybean, rice, wheat, oat as well as minerals and vitamin nutrients like calcium carbonate and calcium hydrogen phosphate. The total energy is about 4,000 kilocalories, crude protein 15%-20%, calcium-phosphorus ratio 1.5:1. The keepers knead the dough and steam the cakes, which are preferred by the giant pandas.

Instead, overseas giant pandas loaned from the Chengdu Panda Base are fed with biscuits.

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