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Visitors encouraged to smell giant panda poo at Wuhan zoo

By Zhao Tong (People's Daily Online)    16:21, November 19, 2019

(Wuhan Morning News/Photo provided by Wuhan Zoo)

Recently, the giant panda hall at Wuhan Zoo put giant panda feces on display in the science gallery, and advised visitors to take a sniff, which received widespread attention and curiosity according to Wuhan Morning News on Nov. 19, 2019.

As for the reason why the zoo launched this science project, Chen Liyun, a member of staff at the zoo, explained that the fresh feces have a kind of bamboo fragrance as pandas survive on the plant. However, it is tough to describe the smell for those who haven't been near pandas before, so the zoo launched the project to give visitors a direct understanding of the scent. The science project has become a hit with tourists, and a huge number of people come to the zoo every day to take a whiff.

(Wuhan Morning News/Photo provided by Wuhan Zoo)

Wang Mingquan, an official of a wildlife conservation institute, said that the giant panda was originally a carnivore. Over time, its feeding habits changed, and now it only eats bamboo, notorious for being a very low-nutrient food. The panda can only absorb and utilize a small amount of nutrients from the bamboo leaves and shoots, so it must eat more often, meaning it also has to poop more. A healthy adult giant panda needs to eat more than 20 kilograms of fresh bamboo leaves and shoots and other food a day, and poops more than 10 times a day, forming 9-10 kilograms of excrement.

(Wuhan Morning News/Photo provided by Wuhan Zoo)

Giant panda poo contains the bamboo fiber that the animal could not digest and a minimal amount of protein. The fresh feces of a healthy giant panda doesn't smell bad, and also has a unique bamboo fragrance.

Zookeepers collect fresh feces in the morning to put in the display. According to information that giant panda feces are a natural raw material and non-hazardous to humans, domestic companies have developed the use of giant panda feces to produce napkins.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhao Tong, Bianji)

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