While on assignment at the Wolong China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda in the Sichuan Province, China, Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic photographer Ami Vitale captured absolutely breathtaking shots of the resident baby pandas, who were born in captivity, being groomed to be released back into the wild. In order to capture these shots, Vitale, just like all who had contact with the pandas, was required to don a panda costume that scented with panda urine, so as to not let the animals get used to being around humans.
Even though these panda costumes look a little creepy the people wearing them are sweethearts. Here is one of my favorite panda experts in costume at work in the Wolong China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province, China. Pandas’ sense of smell is better than their sense of sight, so the keepers’ costumes are scented with panda urine. Because these pandas will be released back into the wild, the interaction with the keepers is very limited and they must wear costumes which are scented so the pandas never get used to humans.
Video by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo. Baby pandas Sen Sen and Xin Xin playing in a tree at the Gengda Giant Panda base that is part of the Wolong Natural Reserve and China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. With their mothers busy eating 13-16 hours a day, panda cubs avoid predators by heading to the safest place they can find, the tops of trees. Read the @natgeo story in the August issue and online through the link in my profile. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond4s #gengda #wolong #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #photooftheday #photojournalism #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #amivitale