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Monday, June 25, 2012

Is this the cutest panda ever? Newborn bear reaches out to the world in photo sure to melt your heart

By Sara Malm

..A baby panda high fives from the arms of a worker at a rescue and breeding centre in China.

Seen playing around with its mates and then being picked up for a cuddle its hard to believe that these fluffy bears are even real animals and not teddy toys.

Workers show off the baby pandas at the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province today.

This baby panda is clearly loving the limelight as it greets its fans as a worker holds it up to the audience at the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu, southwest China

The pandas were fed by bottle and staff held them up to greet visitors at the park.

The animals were made a rare display in order to attract visitors to the rescue centre ahead of the annual Duanwu, or Dragon Boat, festival.

Duanwu is the great mid-summer solstice celebration in China and always falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar.

One of the baby pandas discover the photographer as it plays in its enclosure before being picked up by one of the staff members at the rescue and breeding centre

'What did you say? Come here and say that to my face!': Another one of the baby pandas is loving the attention as it is displayed in its pin

They may look adorable and cuddly now, but giant pandas are in fact born pink, blind and toothless and does not start to grow fur until they are about a month old

It is celebrated all over southeast Asia including Taiwan and Malaysia, and involves racing dragon boats, drinking rice wine and making Zongzi, which is a type of rice dumplings.

China engages in "panda diplomacy", using the endangered but iconic bears as diplomatic gifts to other countries.

A worker bottle feeds one of the baby pandas at the Giant Panda Research Base in Chengdu in the Sichuan province in southwest China

Hiring the animals out to foreign zoos is also a lucrative way for the Chinese government to reap the benefits of the animals likeability and huge fanbase around the world.

The diplomatic trade in panda’s are a danger to the species which is already at risk.

Only around 1,600 remain in the wild in China, with some 300 others in captivity.

There are only 1,600 Giant Panda's living in the wild and the work of organisations like the Giant Panda Research Base is important in the fight for their future



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