The China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda is the only place in the world that successfully breeds pandas and releases them into the wild. Here's how they do it.
First things first. Have you ever heard the noise a baby giant panda makes? Be warned, brace yourself, prepare for breathtaking "AW"s, it is just really really cute. But that's just the frosting on the cake, because everything about giant pandas is irresistibly cute – it's no accident that the species has become the poster child for conservation.
Thankfully the numbers are slowly increasing for these roly-poly guys and gals, but the giant panda still remains one of the rarest and most endangered bears on the planet. One problem preventing more robust conservation success is that the species is a very touchy one when it comes to breeding and raising in captivity. In the 1960s, only 30 percent of infant pandas born at breeding centers survived. Today 90 percent survive. National Geographic explains the success in China:
In the last 20 years, China has successfully tackled three of the biggest problems holding the giant panda back. 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.
Notably, 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. While only three pandas have been successfully released since 2006, sometimes progress comes in (giant) baby steps.
The video below shows how the center is saving giant pandas – it's so heartening. Watch and you can A) hear baby panda noises B) see some NSFW panda antics C) envy the center director as he is engulfed in a mountain of babies D) witness the wonderful strangeness that is workers dressed as giant pandas, and E) see baby pandas sleeping in baskets. And so much more, enjoy!