Panda trainers blend in by playing dress-up

Researchers at a panda center in China wear panda costumes to help cubs adapt to living in the wild. (NBC/CCTV VIA RTV)

SICHUAN PROVINCE, China (NBC/CCTV VIA RTV) — Researchers at a panda center in China wear panda costumes to help cubs adapt to living in the wild. At least two giant panda cubs are going to be released into the wild later this year.

Mothers of the cubs have been raised by humans, and when the trainers arrive to check on them, the female pandas look for food from the humans. To prevent the panda cubs from becoming dependent on humans, the trainers wear panda costumes. They use GPS to try and locate the mother pandas.

One trainer said the panda cubs have never touched any humans, and they do not behave like their mothers. The cubs stay away from humans, and the trainers want to keep it that way.

The trainers bring different kinds of bamboo and other foods from the mothers. The trainers want to help the captive-bred cubs to integrate with wild pandas and contribute to genetic diversity of the pandas.

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