Adorable Panda Kindergarten Opening Ceremony
Is there anything cuter than a panda? A baby panda!
And what’s even cuter than a baby panda? FIFTEEN baby pandas!
Last weekend, fifteen pandas cubs were inducted into the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding panda kindergarten, class of 2016.
Okay, so while you might be imagining an adorable preschool where panda cubs learn how to become panda adults, it’s actually only a kindergarten in the loosest of senses.
It’s more of a place where the cubs can be cared for and play with each other after “graduating” from the breeding centre, and the ceremony is a way of officially introducing the baby pandas to the public for the very first time.
As we all know, with less than 2,000 left in the wild, giant pandas are an endangered species. But despite appearances, this number is actually quite a good one that has almost doubled since the 1970s. In the last 10 years or so alone, the population has increased by 17%.
The animals are notoriously slow breeders because of the females’ very short ovulation time just once a year, and as a result, combined with illegal poaching, giant pandas face the very serious risk of extinction. They just don’t see to be able to recover their population quickly enough.
You might wonder why it is so important to stop a slow-breeding species like the giant panda from dying out, and it’s not just because they are so cuddly and cute!
According to the WWF, pandas play a vital role in keeping bamboo forests thriving, and in turn helping the other species that live there, including the snow leopard, gazelle, and ibex.
The Chengdu Research Base breeds and rears pandas with the aim of increasing and improving the population. The research base alone is responsible for breeding more than 170 giant pandas over the last 20 years.
This year’s 15 cubs were all bred using artificial insemination and included six sets of twins – a 100% success rate in breeding twins this year. This also helped them break their record for the highest number of pandas born in a single year!
But these adorable fluffballs weren’t the only pandas to make their first public appearance recently. The China Conservation & Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) announced that 26 giant panda cubs, including nine sets of twins, were born at different bases.
This year, the CCRCGP had a record of 218 pandas across all of its locations, and it’s all down to the resounding success of its new breeding programme.
Thanks to the continued hard work of various conservation projects in China and around the world, there are more panda reserves than ever before, and giant panda populations in the wild are slowly but surely increasing.
Take a look at Getty Images to see the panda kindergarten opening ceremony in all of its adorable glory!