80 illustrations. This concise and informative volume discusses the fascinating and evocative history and habits of the panda, the "gentle giant" that is among the world's most endangered species. The controversy over whether the panda is a bear or a raccoon is explored, along with comparison photos of well-known bear species and the lessor panda which is classified by scientists as a raccoon. Panda behaviour is discussed, including foraging, eating, sleeping, reproduction, and parenting, as well as the problems faced by pandas in captivity. Featuring 80 full-color photographs made in the panda's last remaining habitats in the bamboo forests of western and southwestern China, a clear view of this intriguing animal's life in the wild is seen.