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Learning English - Words in the News
28 March, 2005 - Published 11:10 GMT
Giant pandas in danger
Giant panda eating bamboo

China's giant panda population could be at risk as their favourite food, arrow bamboo, is on the verge of flowering and withering away. The China Daily newspaper says some pandas will be moved to new habitats because of the food shortage. This report from Louisa Lim:

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China's giant pandas have long been threatened with extinction, suffering from low birth rates and human encroachment on their habitat. Now they are facing a new threat - starvation. China's state-run media says their favourite food, arrow bamboo, is beginning to die off. It is part of a cycle that happens every sixty years and the new crop will take around ten years to mature. Last time the bamboo bloomed was in the 1980s and then around two hundred and fifty giant pandas died of starvation.

Now at least one nature reserve is trying to move those animals at risk into new habitats or find them new sources of food. In another blow for the giant panda, it is being reported that the endangered Tibetan antelope is being tipped as China's Olympic mascot, ahead of the panda. One official was even quoted as lobbying for the antelope because it is more sporty than the other contenders. But panda supporters are holding out hope that Beijing's Olympic emblem could be composed of more than one animal.

Louisa Lim, BBC, Beijing

Listen to the words

threatened with extinction
in danger of dying out completely

human encroachment on their habitat
people moving into areas that are the natural environment for the the panda

dying because of lack of food

a cycle
a natural process that repeats regularly

at risk
in danger

piece of bad news

is being tipped as
is likely to be

an animal that represents a country

lobbying for
campaigning for, trying to convince the authorities about something

a picture or logo that represents a country

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