Pandas often get criticized for being slow and lazy animals. Neither are they the most intelligent of the bears. It appears, however, that given the right motivation, they can be ingenious enough. Young pandas at a Chinese breeding center have proven this.
Footage from CCTV cameras installed at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Southwest China have shown that the lure of milk in another enclosure can inspire giant pandas to exert extra effort to contort their weighty body so they can get through bars.
In one video released on Jan. 31, an adorable giant panda was attempting to get a bowl of milk in a neighboring enclosure by squeezing its body between the bars of the cage. For their chubby body, it may seem difficult for these animals to get through two iron bars but the panda surprisingly managed to get through. The panda successfully squeezed through the bars after much effort to wriggle around and with the help of another panda.
The video is not the first time that a panda at the research center was caught on camera doing mischievous things. In December 2013, another panda was captured on camera trying to slip through the bars of his cage. Unfortunately, the animal was not as lucky as the panda shown in the Jan. 31 video. Its head got stuck between the bars; panda keepers had to come so the animal could finally be released.
Established in March 1987, the research center aims to continue conservation efforts initiated by the Chengdu Zoo. Tourists can go to the breeding center if they want to be the panda keeper for the day or get a minute of cuddle with one of the bears -- albeit with a price. The center also has cameras that show the rolling footage of the adorable animals online.
The cameras, known as the PandaCam, broadcast the day-to-day lives of the animals worldwide. Viewers can flick between cameras in the cages and see how pandas squeeze through the iron bars of neighboring cells.
The giant panda is native to south central China and is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The population of wild pandas is estimated to be between 1,590 to 3,000. As of December last year, there are 49 of these animals that live in captivity outside of China.