Pandas, especially the babies, are some of the cutest animals on Earth. Unfortunately, their adorable population is also deeply endangered, with approximately 1,864 giant pandas left in the wild. The Chengdu Research Base in China is doing their part to help this diminishing species–they've created a specialized “daycare” that breeds, nurtures, and eventually releases the creatures back into the wild. Through this intensive program, they hope to slowly repopulate what's been lost over the years.
There are some unique challenges to revitalizing the panda community. Females are only able to breed for two to three days per year, and they only give birth to one cub every two years. So, it's no surprise that each sweet newborn is a cause for celebration.
In addition to breeding, the destruction of the pandas' forest environment is also an issue. China's Yangtze Basin region has cut down trees and eliminated their food sources. As a result, thousands of pandas have been killed.
Despite these obstacles, the panda population is growing. The World Wildlife Fund recently reported that it has increased by 17% in the last decade. We have organizations like Chengdu to thank for their ongoing commitment to the beloved species.