Thursday, 24 January 2013

Panda Boot Camp Teaches Cubs Survival Skills

Panda cubs have the cuteness thing down pat, but rough-and-tumble? Not so much. Now scientists are hoping to teach the roly-poly bears survival skills they'll need for living in the wild.

The new mission is partly the result of a panda cub being released into the wild without the proper training. Xiang Xiang, a male cub, wasreleased into Wolong Nature Reserve, located high in the mountains of western China's Sichuan Province, in April 2006. Unfortunately, Xiang Xiang wasn't prepared for the harsh reality of the wild. After less than a year of wandering the mountains, the cub was killed by neighboring males during turf wars.

Enter Tao Tao, a 2-year-old male panda currently roaming in Lipingzi Nature Reserve in southwestern China. The cub went through a boot camp of sorts, and now scientists are monitoring the furball with GPS.

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