Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Because Everyone Loves Baby Pandas (Especially Jen and Mandy)

Pictured: Giant panda cubs that are hand-reared by researchers

By Wil Longbottom
Last updated at 6:34 PM on 08th September 2008

They are one of the most endangered animals in the world, but these giant panda cubs are in safe hands.

The babies are being specially cared for by a team of workers at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, in Sichuan Province, China.

Scientists at the research base aim to increase the captive population of giant pandas and ultimately reintroduce the distinctive black and white animals to the wild, with the help of artificial breeding.

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Care bear: This little cub is being looked after in an incubator

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Panda pups: Two sleepy cubs catch some shut-eye at the research base

Some of the panda cubs' mothers had to transferred to the research base after the devastating earthquake which hit the Sichuan Province on May 12, killing 70,000 people.

Researchers carried out psychological comfort on the pregnant mothers who were traumatised by the quake, which also destroyed vast swathes of their habitat.

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A worker gives twin giant pandas a wash

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Endangered: The research base is aiming to increase the population of giant pandas before they are reintroduced into the wild

There are only around 1,590 pandas living in China, mostly in the Sichuan area and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu. Last year, the number of captive bred giant pandas was 239.

Giant pandas are known for being sexually inactive. Their numbers have been dwindling because of of their shrinking habitat.

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Snoozing: Two workers remain close by as these panda cubs have a sleep

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