36 baby giant pandas make their roly-poly public debut

Break out the cigars! A record 42 giant pandas have been born this year at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda.

The undeniably irresistible giant panda is one of the rarest and most endangered bears on the planet. Despite tremendous efforts to save them, the species has proven delicate when it comes to breeding and raising in captivity, a step required in order to release them back into the wild. In the 1960s, only 30 percent of infant pandas born at breeding centers survived. Today, however, 90 percent survive – and it's an encouraging sign for their future.

Through research and experimentation, researchers at China's breeding centers have discovered how to encourage captive pandas to mate, how to make sure the pregnancy is successful, and how to keep the panda cubs alive once they've been born. Specifically, the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda has become the only center in the world to successfully breed, raise, and release giant pandas into the wild.

And this year, they have broken a record! Forty-two giant pandas have been born at two breeding stations for the center. The stations, both located in Sichuan Province, introduced 36 of the new cubs to the public last week.

The video below explains more about the center's efforts, and importantly, has lots of footage of the ridiculously cute squeaking balls of black and white. Plus this lesson: Dream job = baby giant panda wrangler.

Tags: Animals | China | Endangered Species

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