The giant panda is a bear that lives in central China. It is special because of its black and white fur. Pandas belong to the most (0) ENDANGERED species of our world. About 2000 pandas live in the wilderness and 300 live in (1) ............ zoos around the world. Recently, there have been (2) ............ in many countries to save the giant panda. The animal has been driven away from its natural habitat because of deforestation, intensive farming and the creation of new settlements . The giant panda can reach a height of up to 1.5 metres and weigh up to 150 kg. Pandas have bodies like bears, but scientists do not know why they grow a thick, black and white (3) ............ . It keeps them warm during the cold winter months and the white colour protects them from possible enemies in the snow-covered mountains in which they live. Pandas have large teeth, which they need to eat bamboo, their (4) ............ food. Because it is low in nutritional value it does not give pandas much energy to move around for longer periods of time. Giant pandas can live up to 20 years in the wilderness and 30 years in zoos. They start (5) ............ between 4 and 8 years of age. When panda cubs are born, they are very tiny, only about a thousandth the size of the mother, and blind. Like all mammals, they get their food from their mother, whom they stay with for up to three years before being able to (6) ............ alone. Pandas have been an important species throughout history. They first became known in the western world during the middle of the 19th century. In the 1960s, the Chinese government realized it had to do something to protect the giant pandas from becoming extinct . Since then, they have set up 40 reserves in which the animals are (7) ............. In the 1970s, pandas played a role in the opening of Communist China to the west. They were sold to zoos in other countries. Today, about 45 pandas live in zoos outside China. Zoologists are putting millions of dollars into (8) ............ the animals in captivity. When they get older, they are released again into their natural habitat.