PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Scientists in China, home to 1,600 wild pandas, study endangered giant pandas and their environment to help them survive. Before approaching pandas in the wild, researchers and handlers will dress up in panda costumes. The scientists don't want cubs to get used to the sight of humans. This slide show describes one cub’s journey.
A Panda Cub
In this photo from February 10, 2011, researchers perform an exam on six-month-old cub Taotao. The giant-panda cub was born in captivity at Wolong National Nature Reserve, in China’s Sichuan province.
Here, researchers dressed in panda costumes transfer Taotao to a bigger living environment, with semi-wild conditions, on February 20, 2011. This is part of his special survival training to be introduced to the wild. The researchers wear the costumes to prevent Taotao from becoming familiar with humans before he goes into nature.
Learning to Survive
Researchers carry a cage to transfer 21-month-old Taotao to a more challenging living environment at a higher altitude and a more complicated terrain at the nature reserve on May 3, 2012. This is part of his training to be introduced to the wild.
Into the Wild
Researchers wait for two-year-old Taotao to get into a cage for a health examination in the nature reserve on October 7, 2012. A few days later, Taotao was released into the wild, according to a Chinese news agency. He is only the second giant panda bred in captivity to be released. Scientists hope he can survive and help increase the panda population.