Can You Own A Pet Panda Bear? Is it Legal?

The Cute and Cuddly-looking Panda Bears are dream pets for many. Though is it really possible to own a Pet Panda Bear?

Pandas are undoubtedly one of the cutest animals, but the barriers are extremely high to owning them. It is nearly impossible to own a Pet Panda Bear for several obvious and unique reasons. Also, despite their adorable looks and quiet demeanour, Pandas are truly wild, which can make their domestication difficult and dangerous. It is almost a life-taking task for a private person to own and care for Pandas. On a bad mood day, they can literally rip a person apart into two. Their sharp claws and strong bites are deadly for any other animal or human around. Let’s shed some more light on it.

Do Panda Bears Make Good Pets?

People across the world have tons of confusion regarding Pandas, and they would make a cuddly pet is one major amongst them. The reality of Pandas as pets is far away from their appearance, description in books, and what movies exhibit. Though it is almost impossible and illegal to own a pet Panda, if one can (by any chance), there are multiple challenges. For instance,

Panda Bears need a huge enclosure with both indoor and outdoor shelters. Though if it that’s possible to build, these animals need about 44 square miles to roam. Managing such a huge space is a near impossible task for a private person, Zoo facilities, or even some State/ National Park. 

Before domesticating Panda Bears, one would have to grow acres of Bamboo fields. Wondering Why? A Panda Bear would eat 30 to 40 pounds of Bamboo (or up to 30 per cent of their body) every single day. Besides managing to arrange a major amount of food, Panda’s dietary needs are insanely expensive too.

Panda Bears certainly would not like to spend time with anyone else. Unless they are mating, they would not even like another animal from their own species, let alone humans or other animals.

Lastly, and most importantly, Panda Bears are extremely dangerous. Their strong jaws and sharp claws would tear up almost anything possible. If not even that, their size and weight are enough to knock down a human to death.

Panda Bear- A Brief Introduction and History

Panda Bear, Panda or the Giant Panda, is a Bear like a mammal and one of the most popular animals in the world. Native to the Bamboo forest in the Mountains of China, they are mainly present in Sichuan, Gansu, and Shaanxi.

Besides that, due to the Himalayan and Tibetian connection between China and India, a few of these animals are also present in Sikkim and Mayanmar (Burma). Outside China, Panda Bears are living in 13 countries and 18 zoos. 

History of Panda Bears: According to the Fossil records, Panda Bears widely spread across eastern Asia about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago (during the early Pleistocene Epoch). The research includes Fossil records from Vietnam, Myanmar, and major parts of China. Originally these creatures were huge in numbers though activities like poaching, deforestation, and more kept on increasing their existence. It is only since the 1990s that China has increased its efforts in preserving Pandas in the wild. 

Panda Bear Species Overview

NamePanda Bear
Other NamesPanda, Giant Panda
Scientific NameAiluropoda melanoleuca
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassMammalia
OrderCarnivora
FamilyUrsidae
GenusAiluropoda
SpeciesA. melanoleuca
Conservation StatusVulnerable
SizeAverage Weight: 100 to 115 kg (220 to 254 lb)
Height:  2 and 3 feet (60 to 90 centimetres)
Tall at the shoulder (on all four legs),
Reach 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) long
LifespanUp to 20 years in the wild
Up to 30- 35 years In Captive care

Is It Legal To Keep Panda Bears As A Pet? 

Owning, Possessing, or Keeping any kind of rights on Panda Bears is impossible all across the world. Some common reasons include pandas being an endangered and dangerous species. No government or organization in authority allows a private person to keep Panda Bears as pets under any circumstances. 

However, these aren’t the only and major reasons. Instead, the People’s Republic of China owns all Giant Pandas currently present in the world. Giant Pandas are China’s National treasure, and therefore it has imposed several laws regarding the animal.

Laws including the Forest Law (1984), the Law on the Protection of Wildlife (1988), and the Environmental Protection Law (1989) protect Giant Pandas from any kind of activities across the world.

The legislative measures in China have gone a long way to protect the Giant Pandas. If a person/ group/ organization is found smuggling a Giant Panda, he/they shall have a punishment of at least a 10-year sentence and confiscation of property.

The punishment could even increase to a life sentence, death sentence, along with a hefty fine. Since the restrictions are very crucial, it is impossible for anyone to even get their hands on Panda Bears, let alone legally/ illegally domesticate.

Are Panda Bears legal in the U.S.?

Panda Bear is the National Animal of China, and Chinese Laws ban its private ownership all across the world, including the U.S. Even the pandas that live in zoos in the United States, Europe, or any Country/ Continent of the world are owned by China.

The Chinese government has basically rented out various Giant Pandas to several countries and Zoo facilities worldwide. Not only that but even the Pandas who were born in the United States are owned by China. 

Though even beyond strict Chinese Law, the United States as well as several laws protecting endangered species, including Panda Bears. Multiple laws prevent humans from causing harm to Giant Pandas. 

So, Can you have Panda Bears as pets?

Absolutely Not. Panda Bears are the most popular animals in the world but also one of the least in numbers. By 2022, there will be only 1,864 Giant Pandas left in the wild.

Even after multiple laws protecting these animals, their population increased by only 17% in more than a decade. However, their Conservation Status on the global list of species at risk of extinction has changed from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable”. Seeing high disappointments in their existence, no Animal welfare organization in the world allows keeping them as pets. 

More About Panda Bears

Panda Bear Habitat Needs

Panda Bears in the wild live in mountainous regions or valleys. They survive in large open spaces, preferably bamboo forests. Even in zoos across the world, Pandas need a huge enclosure, preferably 1 to 2 acres for a single animal.

The enclosure must include several forestry features like trees, small streams, and more. However, since Pandas are excellent climbers, their enclosure needs fencing from all sides, including above. 

Panda Bear Temperature and Humidity Needs

Looking into their native habitat in China, Pandas need temperatures between 64 to 69°F and humidity as high as 80%. Pandas like temperate climates without extremes in both summers and winters.

Panda Bear Dietary Needs

Panda Bears are true foodies, and they can eat literally for the entire day. About 99% of their diet consists of Bamboo, including bamboo roots, shoots, and leaves. Pandas consume 25 species of Bamboo, and they require at least 2 species of Bamboo to avoid starvation. Besides Bamboo, they will also occasionally munch on bird, rodent, and carrion meat along with grasses and wild tubers. In Captivity (Zoos), Pandas eat bananas, oranges, honey, eggs, fish, yam, shrub leaves, and some special food.

Panda Bear Cleaning Needs

Panda Bears are known to keep themselves clean throughout their life. On a bright sunny day, they will soak and play in the water, tumble and turn and wipe out all the dirt from their body. Similar to humans, the Pandas use their paws to rub out all dirt and dust from their bodies. 

Common Health Problems with Panda Bears

Panda Bears are known for suffering from a variety of health problems. The diseases that attack them include internal, surgical, obstetrical, communicable, and parasitic.

Some of their common health problems include endometritis, ovarian cyst, obstruction of the fallopian tube, trauma, fracture, craniocerebral injury and tumour, sunstroke, ileus, acute pancreatitis, and kidney failure.

How Much Does a Panda Bear Cost?

Pandas are the most expensive animals present across the world. They aren’t for sale to a private person or organization, but China rents out Pandas to several notable Zoos. At an estimate, China rents one Panda Bear for about $2 million in lease to the Zoo facilities.

However, China does not allow any Zoo to further rent or sell any Panda, even the ones born in their Captivity.

Even when someday in the future Pandas become easy pets, they are in no way going to cost less than a fortune. For decades from now, Panda Bears are going to remain the most expensive creature worldwide.

Where To Buy a Panda Bear?

Where To Find a Panda Bear Breeder? Nothing in the world, including Pet Shops, Farms, Ranches, Breeders, or other facilities, sells Pandas. Perhaps only the Black Market or Smugglers can arrange (least possibilities) a Panda Bear, but that comes with high risks. 

In the name of Breeders, there is a Research base that bred Panda Bears. However, such facilities to are the least in number, and no private person can access or reach them. 

Interesting Panda Bear Facts

  • Pandas have six fingers, and the 6th one is like a human’s thumb.
  • In terms of life expectancy, a Panda year is equivalent to 3 human years.
  • Pandas have the most amazing life that includes only eating and sleeping.
  • Every single day, a Panda could poop 28 kilos (62 lb).
  • Newborn pandas are pink.
  • It is common for Pandas to give birth to twins; however, most of them abandon the one they think is weaker.
  • Pandas can walk, run, swim, and climb efficiently.
  • An estimated 1,864 pandas are in the wild, while about 400 are in Captivity.
  • China owns every Panda in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any Giant Pandas in the world that China does not own?

Yes, Pandas at Chapultepec, including Xin Xin and Shuan Shuan, are the ones that China doesn’t own. The original pair was given to Mexico by China; however, the Chinese government does not longer own them. Still, every other Panda in the world, which is even born outside China, is owned by the Chinese government.

Does anyone ever own Giant Pandas a Pets?

Yes, Chinese actor Jackie Chan has two Pandas. The Chinese government does not allow any private person to own Pandas, but Jackie Chan is an exception. It is majorly because of his heroic deed when in 2008, he rescued two pandas from the Sichuan earthquake. Due to the given circumstances, he adopted the pandas in 2009, and the Chinese government even appointed Chan as Panda Ambassador. 

Are there any Alternative pets that look like Panda Bears?

Panda Dogs, usually Chow Chows, are one fine alternative to Panda Bears. Though both of them are in no way, related slight of their looks can resemble each. 

Can I meet a Panda in person?

Yes, visiting a Zoo can allow individuals to observe Pandas in their natural habitat. There are several Zoos in China that even allow holding and playing with tiny baby pandas. 

Or, individuals can even adopt Pandas in a sanctuary and provide for their welfare. This is one great initiative that will add to the betterment of the animal and will make you feel good alongside. 

Wrapping up…

With all that’s said and discussed above, no one can own a Panda Bear (Jackie Chan is an exception). Owning one comes with several legal as well as life dangers and is not worth it. However, if you are fascinated with Pandas Bears, it is better to support any organization that works to protect pandas. 

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