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Life Imitating Nature — Wenchuan

by Anne Miltenburg

At Wolong National Nature Reserve, Chinese scientists face the challenge of caring for a population of 150 giant pandas and reintroducing them into the wild to support this highly endangered species. The adult pandas have lost the skills needed to survive independently of humans, so the reserve staff focus their efforts on the newborn cubs. In order to teach the cubs real panda ways, any contact with their domesticated parents or humans has to be avoided. The scientists came up with a cunning plan: by dressing up as pandas, and mimicking natural panda behaviour, they hope to teach the cubs by example. Despite their best efforts, only two giant pandas have been successfully reintroduced to their natural habitat in the past 30 years.

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