Optical Illusion: Can You Find the Panda?

February 17, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

panda illusion
Photo credit: Ilja Klemencov (image has been cropped)

It was created by a Russian artist to bring awareness to the plight of the giant pandas.

Seeing a giant panda in the wild is highly unlikely nowadays, since there are only 1,600 currently found outside of captivity — making giant pandas the rarest species of bear in the world. They are currently listed as endangered on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species.

To raise awareness of the struggles pandas are facing, Russian artist Ilja Klemencov created this optical illusion, which contains an image of a panda behind black and white zig-zagged lines.

The image has gone viral and people have reported varying levels of difficulty in spotting the elusive bear.  If you are having trouble spotting the panda, take a step back or rotate the picture almost 90 degrees — that should reveal the image!

optical illusion
Optical illusion
Image credit: Ilja Klemencov (image has been cropped)

Giant pandas live in a few mountain ranges in central China, but they used to live in lowland areas.  Farming, forest clearing and other developments has restricted the pandas to the mountains between 5,000 and 10,000 feet — they are actually really shy animals!

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The pandas are mostly herbivorous or plant-eating.  In the wild, their diet consists of about 99 percent bamboo, and the rest is composed of grasses and the occasional small rodent or musk deer fawn.  In captivity, giant pandas consume bamboo, sugar cane, rice gruel, carrots, apples and sweet potatoes.  Sounds delicious... minus the gruel!

They are also really fun to watch eat — they sit upright, like humans do, which leaves the front paws free the grasp bamboo stems with what is called a pseudo thumb — an elongated and enlarged wrist bone covered with a fleshy pad of skin.  

However, their digestive system is similar to that of a carnivore, so much of what is eaten is passed as waste.  To make up for this, pandas need to eat 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day — equaling 10 to 16 hours of foraging and eating a day.  Their continuous loss of habitat, which is needed to fulfill their daily food intake, is the major threat to these cuties.

If you did spot the hidden panda in the tricky optical illusion above, you will see that it is the famous World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) logo.  WWF is one of the leading organizations working toward panda conservation.

Check our other optical illusions.

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