"It is exciting to see the flexibility pandas have, or at least see that pandas are choosing areas I didn't think could support them," said Vanessa Hull, postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University, US.

It has been thought that pandas demanded a forest with fairly gentle slope (easier to mosey around in while seeking bamboo) at a certain elevation in original, old forest, an abundance of bamboo, and plenty of distance from people.

These recommendations, Hull said, come from often-scant research because pandas are difficult animals to study.

Vanessa spent three years stalking giant pandas in China's Wolong Nature Reserve and along with her colleagues drew up analysis of previous studies.

They discovered that pandas may not be as picky as thought. Pandas are willing to live in secondary forests, that have been logged and have regrown, the researchers found. It means that forests once cut clean by timber harvesting can return to acceptable panda habitat.

The study appeared in Ursus, the journal of the International Association for Bear Research and Management.

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