National Zoo Pleads for Bamboo
Own harvest has failed; may not have enough to get through winter
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2009 7:05 AM CST
Tai Shan, the popular giant panda cub at the National Zoo, munches on bamboo. The zoo says supplies of bamboo are critically short.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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(Newser) – The National Zoo is appealing for donations from landowners in the Washington area who may have stands of green crunchy bamboo stalks, reports the Washington Post. The zoo's own harvest of bamboo has failed and with the zoo's giant pandas, red pandas, elephants and gorillas eating 75,000 pounds of the stuff, administrators are running alarmingly low of the vital nourishment.

Not just any bamboo will do. The zoo needs stands of an acre or more within 30 miles of the zoo, free of pesticides and herbicides, and grown at least 100 feet from a road to avoid pollution from cars. "We need clean stuff," explained the zoo's associate director for animal care.