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Researchers In Panda Suits Release Cub Into Wild

CHINA — (PANDA PICTURES) With only a few thousand giant pandas in existence, every precaution is taken to successfully release captive-born pandas into the wild. Even if it means dressing up in a panda costume to prevent the baby pandas from becoming accustomed to humans. Why the “panda-ring”? Previous attempts to release pandas into the wild weren’t successful, so researchers hope this new plan will prevent further tragedy in the quest to rebuild the panda population.  We applaud this funny, and serious, plan! — Global Animal

A researcher dressed in a panda costume puts a panda cub into a box before its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province, Dec. 3. The 4-month old cub, the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild, is monitored by hidden cameras. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence, according to local media.

Paw Nation, Josh Loposer

Look carefully — only one of the pandas pictured is actually a panda. Wildlife researchers in China’s Sichuan province have been suiting up in their best panda costumes, but not because they’re part of a nature-themed children’s show. Instead, these researchers are using their clever disguises to prevent captive-born pandas from identifying with humans.

Chinese panda experts believe that the goofy-looking costumes may actually increase a panda cub’s chances of survival when it’s introduced into the wild. In 2006, according to The Washington Post, the research team introduced a captive-born male cub into the wild only to have it tragically rejected and killed by its free-roaming brethren.

This time around, researchers are doing everything in their power to ensure a successful introduction of the 4-month-old cub pictured above. That includes, of course, dressing up in panda costumes whenever they come in contact with the cute little guy. If the baby panda is taught to associate with only pandas, perhaps it will develop the social skills it needs to adapt to the wild.

The costume approach seems reasonable enough, and we are for anything that helps these creatures survive in the wild. Though we hope the researchers are also doused in their best panda-scented perfume.

A researcher dressed in a panda costume carries a panda cub in a box before its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province December 3, 2010. The 4-month old cub, the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild, is monitored by hidden cameras. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence, according to local media. REUTERS/Stringer

Researchers dressed in panda costumes check the body temperature of a panda cub during its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province December 3, 2010. The 4-month old cub, the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild, is monitored by hidden cameras. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence, according to local media. REUTERS/Stringer

A researcher dressed in a panda costume carries a panda cub after its physical examination at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan province December 3, 2010. The 4-month old cub, the first in the centre to be trained for reintroduction into the wild, is monitored by hidden cameras. Researchers performing physical examinations on the cub wear panda costumes to ensure that the cub's environment is devoid of human influence, according to local media. REUTERS/Stringer

http://www.pawnation.com/2010/12/07/panda-costumes-help-researchers-reintroduce-pandas-to-the-wild/

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3 Responses to Researchers In Panda Suits Release Cub Into Wild

  1. Lkyyang June 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    I wonder if those ” experts” wear panda scent perfume?!

  2. panda costume March 13, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Chinese panda experts believe that the goofy-looking costumes may actually increase a panda cub’s chances of survival when it’s introduced into the wild.

  3. panda costume January 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Chinese panda experts believe that the goofy-looking costumes may actually increase a panda cub’s chances of survival when it’s introduced into the wild. In 2006, according to The Washington Post, the research team introduced a captive-born male cub into the wild only to have it tragically rejected and killed by its free-roaming brethren.