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News Currents Sr.

News Currents Sr. is a current events program designed specifically for use as a group activity in a residential setting. It provides you with a stimulating and interactive approach for presenting current events each week.

Story Text | National Zoo to Return Giant Pandas to China
National Zoo to return giant pandas to China
Giant pandas have been at the zoo for over 50 years.
[1] Giant pandas are truly amazing animals. They're famous for their black-and-white coloring, and even though they live only in China, people all over the world love them. Pandas are also known for eating a lot of bamboo. Bamboo makes up almost all of their diet!

[2] There have been giant pandas at the National Zoo for over 50 years. Recently, the National Zoo made a big announcement about its pandas. Based on the map, where is the National Zoo? (Washington DC.) The zoo will be sending its pandas back to China in January. These three pandas have lived at the zoo for nearly 23 years! The pandas were loaned to the National Zoo by China as part of a breeding program.

[3] Giant pandas in China were "endangered" for many years. That means they were at risk of disappearing completely. The main cause of this population loss was humans cutting down the bamboo forests where pandas live. Why do you think humans cut down these bamboo forests?

[4] The National Zoo has been helping protect and save giant pandas through its breeding program. Thanks to programs like these, the panda population has gone up. But, sadly, there are still not many pandas left in the wild. The National Zoo hopes to keep helping giant pandas. The zoo is in talks with China to receive more pandas in the future. Who wants to read the quote?

[5] After the three pandas go back to China, there will only be four pandas left in the United States. Having pandas in the United States helps more people learn about and appreciate these beautiful bears. Why is learning about pandas a good thing for people in the United States? How does it help?

The giant panda is a fascinating (and adorable) mammal.

[6] As you can see on this map, giant pandas only live in the wild in one small area of China. Despite its name, the giant panda is one of the smaller bear species. It is only called “giant” to tell it apart from the red panda, a
much smaller — and unrelated — mammal. Adult pandas usually weigh between 200 and 300 pounds.

[7] Pandas maintain their weight even though 99 percent of their diet consists of bamboo. What is bamboo? (A wood-like plant with a hollow stem in the grass family.) Adults eat at least 25 pounds of bamboo on average every day to get enough nourishment. Most of this bamboo is tough fiber and cannot be digested. So, pandas poop at least 40 times a day!

[8] Feeding takes up two-thirds of a panda’s day. The remainder is spent resting, as this diet gives the bears very little energy.

[9] Pandas have also developed a unique wrist bone that acts like a thumb and helps them hold bamboo during feeding. What details do you notice about the pandas in this photo?

[10] A few years ago, China built a new Giant Panda National Park. The project cost about $1.5 billion. This park is more than 10,000 square miles — approximately the size of the state of Massachusetts. The new park
connects 67 different panda habitats in the three provinces. This helps different panda populations interact and breed with each other for the first time. Why is this important? (It gives pandas more chances to increase their numbers and survive.) What do you find most interesting about pandas?
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