Up until now, information gleaned from 30 years worth of scientific literature suggested that pandas were inflexible about habitat, researchers said.
The new study found evidence that the endangered animal is more resilient and flexible than previously believed. Vanessa Hull, a postdoctoral research associate at Michigan State University (MSU)'s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) spent three years stalking giant pandas in China's Wolong Nature Reserve.

It has been thought pandas demanded a forest with fairly gentle slope 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. Hull and her colleagues drew up analysis of all the research projects and sought to separate studies that focus on where pandas live from studies that examine what kind of choices pandas make when multiple types of habitat are available.
They discovered that pandas may not be as picky as thought. The research showed, for instance, that pandas are willing to live in secondary forests - forests that have been logged and have regrown.

They also don't seem as selective about slope, and are willing to climb depending on which of the many varieties of bamboo is growing, or what type of forest it was in.
Researchers found that pandas choose different forest types as places to spend their time, as long as bamboo is available.
The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but also in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
As a result of farming, deforestation, and other development, the panda has been driven out of the lowland areas where it once lived.
The paper is published in Ursus, the journal of the International Association for Bear Research and Management.

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