March 1, 2010 / 5:59 AM / 9 years ago

Bones, not bamboo, sate wild panda's appetite

A male panda, one of the two pandas selected as gifts for Hong Kong, sits on a tree at the China Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong, southwest China's Sichuan province, April 23, 2007. REUTERS/China Daily

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Hunger drove a wild panda to break into a Chinese farmer’s pig pen and eat their food, which was meat and bone, rather than bamboo.

State-run China Central Television said the giant panda had apparently descended from the mountains in a region of southwest China’s Sichuan province and was spotted in a field before the animal was found inside the pig pen, chewing on bones and spitting out the meat.

After eating its fill, the panda quietly left.

Although classified as carnivores, the giant pandas’ diet is mainly bamboo, but it also eats other foods including honey, eggs, fish, oranges and bananas when available.

Scientists believe there are around 1,600 giant pandas living in the wild in China, mostly in the mountains of the southwest.

The endangered species are considered a national icon and its existence is threatened by logging, agriculture and China’s increasing human population.

Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by Miral Fahmy

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