Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Panda "Daycare" Is Officially The Cutest Place On Earth

Amy Pilkington 17 Mar 2019

It's a common myth that pandas are an "evolutionary dead end." I mean, the argument makes sense at first glance.

They're notoriously lazy, eat an incredibly limited diet, and are kind of terrible at breeding — at least in captivity.

It turns out that they do pretty well in the wild and conservation efforts are beginning to prove it.

Through the creation of nature reserves in China, populations of wild pandas are beginning to grow.

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But it's going to take a long time before the species has bounced back enough to no longer need human help and the only way we can learn how to help the wild population is by studying the pandas in captivity.

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But while many zoos have struggled to breed their captive pandas, one place has it mastered.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

And the results are the most adorable thing ever!

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a research center and tourist park in the Chenghua District of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.

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It was founded in the 1980s when six sick and malnourished pandas were rescued.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

They needed a safe place to recover and live, so the Base was built. It has become a leader in the breeding and conservation of the species, having bred more than 150 giant pandas.

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Such a large number is important for helping a species bounce back.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

A larger breeding population means there is more genetic diversity and healthier offspring.

The Base is a non-profit research facility that also includes educational tours to promote conservation.

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The pandas are slowly introduced to a more natural environment as they grow.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

They start in a nursery with round-the-clock care and eventually get to live out in the Base's natural reserve space.

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They live in "kindergarten" for a couple of years before "graduating."

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

When that happens, the pandas are moved to other wildlife reserves to live their lives and a new batch of cubs moves in.

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The Base has partnered with many zoos and research stations.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

They help with zoo breeding programs and teach other conservation groups what they have learned about giving the species the best hope for survival.

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And I think that we can all agree that these adorable floofs are worth it.

Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

So next time someone tries to argue that the giant panda is clearly not worth saving, school them on the fact that the wild population is growing again and it's all thanks to the research done by places like this.

And then show them all the cutest pics.

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