Growing Bamboo for Pandas in Freezing Finland – A Wild Challenge!

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Driven by a passion for giant pandas, Finnish agronomists are learning how to cultivate bamboo in freezing temperatures not normally conducive to growing the primary food source for these iconic animals, reported Xinhua.

In early 2018, a pair of giant pandas from China made their public debut at the Ähtäri Zoo in central Finland. It was the first time pandas had come to live in Northern Europe, and the event was met with great enthusiasm from the Finnish public.

The pandas, Hua Bao and Jin Baobao, were nicknamed "Pyry" and "Lumi" — meaning "heavy snowfall" and "snow" — by their hosts in Finland.

Meanwhile, two years before their arrival, a group of local farmers had taken up the challenge of growing bamboo in the Nordic country where temperatures often plummet to below 30 degrees Celsius in winter. The farmers have persevered despite setbacks, and their efforts are now bearing fruit as they have succeeded in growing bamboo in the extreme cold.

Over the years, agricultural advisor Jari Luokkakallio has become an expert on bamboo cultivation, driven by the desire to build the best possible food reserves for the pandas.

"I think the pandas prefer the bamboo that I bring them," Luokkakallio said. "It is fresh and local."

Around 50 farmers joined the bamboo cultivation project when it was first launched in 2016. "The first year was very, very hard," Luokkakallio said. "When the temperature dropped to minus 30 in November and December, we lost every single bamboo plant."

The next year, the farmers started all over again, he said. "And we came to understand that we had to better protect the bamboo."

Looking back on such experiences, Luokkakallio stressed that it was important to adopt techniques suitable for Finland's climate. For example, snow can be used as a natural insulator for bamboo plants.

When Luokkakallio learned that bamboo grows in China's cool, humid mountainous areas, he was convinced it could also grow in snowy Finland.

"The snow actually provides the best protection for the bamboo, an evergreen plant," Luokkakallio said. Covering bamboo with snow ensures adequate moisture for the leaves, he said, so that they remain green and fresh.

By conducting experiments and learning from mistakes, Luokkakallio said he discovered Finland-specific ways to protect bamboo, which is crucial for sustaining the pandas' diet locally.

Finland's local bamboo production currently makes up just a fraction of the food supply for the two giant pandas, providing an alternative in the event that extreme situations could hinder imported bamboo from arriving in time.

"Growing bamboo is our hobby, not a business," Luokkakallio said, adding that he and his colleagues are delighted to be able to provide some backup food reserves for the lovely pandas in Ahtari. "My grandsons are also very proud of me because what I'm doing for the two pandas is special."

Source: www.dailyfinland.fi

15 Comments
  1. JennaSmith says

    As a nature enthusiast, I find it truly inspiring to see the dedication of Finnish agronomists in cultivating bamboo for pandas in such challenging conditions. Their perseverance and passion for providing fresh, local bamboo to these iconic animals is commendable.

  2. EmilyJones123 says

    How did the Finnish agronomists manage to successfully grow bamboo in freezing temperatures, considering it’s the primary food source for giant pandas?

    1. JohnSmith456 says

      Hey EmilyJones123! The Finnish agronomists have been able to successfully grow bamboo in freezing temperatures by implementing innovative techniques such as greenhouse cultivation, soil heating systems, and tailored nutrition plans for the plants. Their dedication and perseverance have truly paid off, providing the giant pandas with a fresh and local food source even in the extreme cold of Finland.

  3. AnnaSmith86 says

    Do the pandas enjoy the Finnish-grown bamboo as much as their original food source?

    1. Jari Luokkakallio says

      Yes, the pandas indeed seem to enjoy the Finnish-grown bamboo as much as their original food source. I have observed them eagerly consuming the bamboo I provide, and it brings me great joy to see them thriving on our locally cultivated produce.

  4. MaggieSmith54 says

    I believe that it’s truly commendable how these Finnish farmers have dedicated themselves to cultivating bamboo in such harsh conditions to ensure a sustainable food source for the pandas. It’s heartwarming to see the efforts paying off and the community coming together for this cause.

  5. JennaSmith23 says

    As a passionate panda lover, I admire the dedication of the Finnish agronomists in cultivating bamboo for the pandas in freezing Finland. It’s amazing to see how their perseverance is paying off and providing the pandas with fresh, local food. Kudos to Jari Luokkakallio and the team for their hard work!

  6. Kristiina82 says

    As a Finnish citizen, I am so proud of our agronomists’ dedication to cultivating bamboo for the pandas. It’s truly inspiring to see them overcome the challenges posed by our freezing temperatures. Go Finland!

  7. Maria84 says

    As a passionate admirer of giant pandas, I am truly inspired by the dedication of the Finnish agronomists in cultivating bamboo in such extreme conditions. Their commitment to providing fresh and local bamboo for Hua Bao and Jin Baobao is commendable, and I believe their efforts will contribute greatly to the well-being of these beloved animals.

  8. EmmaSmith78 says

    As an agricultural enthusiast myself, I admire the dedication of these Finnish farmers in tackling the challenge of growing bamboo for pandas in such harsh conditions. It’s heartwarming to see the efforts put into providing the best possible food reserves for our furry friends. Kudos to Jari Luokkakallio and the team for their perseverance and success!

  9. EmilySmith424 says

    Do the Finnish agronomists face any specific challenges with cultivating bamboo in such freezing temperatures?

    1. PeterJohnson82 says

      Yes, the Finnish agronomists indeed face many challenges when cultivating bamboo in freezing temperatures. The extreme cold can significantly impact the growth and survival of the bamboo plants, requiring innovative techniques and specialized care to ensure their success.

  10. Amanda Smith says

    As a passionate advocate for wildlife preservation, I commend the Finnish agronomists for their dedication to cultivating bamboo in freezing Finland to support giant pandas. It’s heartwarming to see efforts being made to ensure the pandas have a sustainable food source in their new home. Kudos to Jari Luokkakallio and the local farmers for their perseverance and commitment to this challenging project!

  11. LenaSmith says

    I believe the dedication of Finnish agronomists in growing bamboo for pandas in freezing Finland is truly remarkable. It shows their commitment to providing the best care for these iconic animals, even in challenging conditions. Kudos to them for their perseverance and innovation!

  12. EmmaSmith123 says

    I believe that the dedication of the Finnish farmers in cultivating bamboo for the giant pandas is truly commendable. It’s inspiring to see how they have overcome challenges to provide fresh and local bamboo for Hua Bao and Jin Baobao. Their efforts reflect a deep commitment to the well-being of these iconic animals.

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