Is a panda cub fooled by a panda suit? That’s the hope at Wolong’s Hetaoping center, where captive-bred bears training for life in the wild are kept relatively sheltered from human contact, even during a rare hands-on checkup
Giant Pandas were on the brink of extinction but now they are coming back, thanks to an extraordinary conservation project. The Chengdu Research Base in central China is at the heart of a project to breed 300 pandas, and then start introducing them back into the wild. It is the most ambitious and controversial conservation effort ever mounted.
When the first female panda was being released into the wild, I dressed myself up as a tree so as not to scare her. The director of the panda program was touched. He came running up to me, hugged me, and exclaimed, “You get to hold two baby pandas! President Obama, he only held one baby panda." The doors opened and we got excellent access for the rest of the story, and got far stronger images because of it.
Researchers dressed in panda costumes put a panda cub into a basket before transferring it to a new living environment at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province February 20, 2011. The 6-month-old cub is being transferred to a bigger living environment with a higher altitude and a more complicated terrain, which marks the beginning of the second phase of its training to reintroduce it to the wild. Researchers wear…
What? Giant panda? I know, but it’s true. In the wild, a mommy giant panda does much better investing her resources into raising only one baby, but she often bears two. Here we have what one naturalist refers to as “quality control” — mom favors the stronger-seeming offspring, and leaves the weaker one to wither in the wild.