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Pandas' home range may move as climate changes

Warming might force animals’ food source, bamboo, to higher elevations

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4:44pm, November 13, 2012

China’s famous Qinling pandas may run out of their favorite food by the end of this century. Scientists have simulated how three bamboo species native to central China’s Qinling Mountains might move around as climate changes. And the news is bad for hungry pandas: All three plant species shrink in range.

Bamboo, pandas’ dietary staple, is vulnerable to change because the plants take a long time to reproduce and can’t spread their seeds very far. Mao-Ning Tuanmu and his colleagues at Michigan State University in East Lansing mapped the climate conditions best suited to three bamboo species in the Qinling Mountains, home to some 270 pandas, or about 17 percent of the total wild population.

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