Did you know that panda researchers in China, wear panda costumes so they could give mother-like feelings to lonely baby pandas who lost their mothers.



It gives a whole new meaning to pandering to the kids. 
But in this case it’s a matter of survival. 
Chinese conservationists are dressing up in fluffy panda costumes as they help prepare captive-born cubs to live in the wild.
Helping hand: One of the scientists carries a cub away for an examination
Helping hand: One of the scientists carries a cub away for an examination
They are anxious to ensure the endangered animals have as little contact with humans as possible. 
So rather than being hand-reared as precious pandas often are, they are being brought up by their mothers in a piece of protected woodland.
Human help is always on hand, as their every move is monitored by CCTV.
Their vigilant keepers can see in a moment if they need medicine or a health check-up.
Who are you? Researchers carefully take the four-month-old cub's temperature during a physical examination in Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda
Who are you? Researchers carefully take the four-month-old cub's temperature during a physical examination in Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre for the Giant Panda
Handle with care: The cub is placed in a box to be taken from its habitat
Handle with care: The cub is placed in a box to be taken from its habitat
But they make sure to slip into their panda suits before venturing anywhere near, as they are anxious that their charges don’t become used to seeing humans. 
Keepers at the Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre in western China believe the costumes are vital if the cubs are to survive when finally released into the wild. 
In 2006, Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old male, was freed after spending three years being taught survival skills such as foraging for food and marking his territory. 
After initially appearing to be adjusting well, he died after getting into a fight with a group of wild pandas.
They are thought to have sensed something different about the human-reared interloper.
With fewer than 2,500 giant pandas living free in China, conservationists are desperate not to take any chances with the next group facing life in the wild.

Headless: The researcher carries the panda away, confident his human shape has not been seen
Headless: The researcher carries the panda away, confident his human shape has not been seen

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