In case you haven't heard the news, it's Panda Awareness Week. And while the occasion has spawned dozen of events throughout the world in a bid to put a serious spotlight on the endangered animal -- it's largely been, as you might expect, quite adorable.
Fine, I'll just come out and say it. It's been pandamonium.The week kicked off in style as more than a hundred panda-costume-clad participants descended upon London's Trafalgar Square. They were certainly hard to miss:
This first-annual Panda Awareness Week (PAW) celebration was spearheaded by China's Chengdu Panda Base, the world's premier breeding and research center for pandas. The species, once on the brink of extinction, has proved to be one of conservationists' most iconic success stories. Over the years, plenty of pandas have been bred in captivity -- which could then go on to bolster the remaining wild populations in China's bamboo forests.
"Pandas used to be really difficult to breed in captivity, but the Chengdu base and other zoos around the world have cracked the problem and now there's around 400 in captivity. So they're starting to be reintroduced back into the wild. So it's a great conservation success story," says British conservationist, Nigel Marven.
And as if the thought that panda babies were rebounding wasn't good enough from an ecological perspective, officials at Chengdu offered the world a heart-warming reminder of just how cute those youngsters can be. Here's a video of some of the facility's newest arrivals: