CZAAWE Resource Article

Energy digestibility of giant pandas on bamboo-only and on supplemented diets
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract Endangered giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) are bears (Family Ursidae), within the order Carnivora. They specialize on an herbivorous diet of bamboo yet retain a gastrointestinal tract typical of their carnivorous ancestry. The evolutionary constraints of their digestive tract result in a low extraction efficiency from bamboo (<40% in reported studies). The goal of this study was to determine the energy digestibility of bamboo by giant pandas used in digestibility trials and through subsequent analyses with bomb calorimetry. Seven digestibility trials were conducted (three with bamboo-only diets and four with supplemental diets). Energy digestibilities ranged from 7.5–38.9% for mixed diets and 9.2–34.0% for bamboo-only diets. The bamboo-only trials summarized here represent, to our knowledge, the first empirical data available for energy digestibility on a bamboo diet for giant pandas. Zoo Biol 30:121–133, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.