What do you get when you mix the cutest animal on earth with a camera? 458 photos!
Today we went to the Panda Conservation Research Base where China has focused its efforts to boost the numbers of this endangered population. Only 1,000 pandas remain world-wide, and 80% are located in Sichuan province.
The centre simulates the natural habitat of the Giant Panda, so it is forested with bamboo trees and the enclosures have large open areas. The key to visiting the centre is to go early in the morning when the pandas are active and feeding. By the mid-afternoon, they start to take naps or move indoors to escape the heat.
The girls were enthralled with the nursery. Panda moms are not always the best at mothering, so baby pandas are often taken away and cared for by humans. The tiny little bears are hairless and smaller than the palm of your hand when born, so they are easily hurt by an inexperienced mom.
Pandas are endangered because their habitat has been reduced and fragmented from logging and other activities that cause deforestation. This means they may not be able to get enough to eat, or even to find a partner to breed with.
Since pandas are considered a national treasure of China, the government has taken significant steps in recent years to protect their habitat. Their are now a network of 67 panda reserves and bamboo corridors protecting at least 65% of the wild population.
Perhaps the most fitting sign we saw at the panda centre today was a quote of Mahatma Gandhi’s: There is enough on earth for everyone’s need, but not everybody’s greed.