Zoo Switches Babies So That Both Panda Cubs Can Live


Over half of all births for panda’s end up being twins, but even more unexpected is that it’s actually quite rare for both of the Panda Cubs to survive…

But there is a logical reason it happens, and that is that panda mom’s usually abandoned one of their cubs, sounds crazy, but that’s how it happens.

This does seem a little cruel to us, of course, that is only a natural feeling, but for them, it’s a matter of survival because panda moms only have sufficient milk for one baby, not both.

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Panda Cubs

Panda Cubs
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So the team cleverly switch the babies through the day so that mom thinks she is only caring for one cub, wow what incredible but hard work, very worthwhile though!

The whole process starts the moments after the panda gives birth, one cub is then removed, and mom starts to care for the one baby, to feed and provide for it.

Panda Cubs
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The panda handlers have to do a cleaver switcharooney and swap the pandas without mom noticing what’s going on.

To distract the mom, called Lee Lee, they make a bowl of honey water and coax her baby away from her, she is reluctant to give up her baby though, but eventually with enough distraction it works.

Panda Cubs
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The baby is wrapped up, snug and super warm as she is in a towel and put into an incubator…

They come back with the cub’s twin, who they give back to mom at this stage.

Panda Cubs
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Mom thankfully had no clue that the baby is a different baby that they gave back to her and she takes the cub off them and cuddles it, and grooms it just like nothing has happened.

When the twin is not with mom they feed it formula milk, and when with mom they have mom’s milk!

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This way the mom can have and feed two babies, and the both of them will survive and its great for mom and the Panda Cubs and even the zoo.

The whole switcharooney had to happen about ten times a day, so it’s pretty hard work, to say the least!

Mom has her cub with her all the time, so it’s pretty hard to do it, but in return, both the cub will live. It’s programs like this that have made pandas as a species endure.

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But as a species the pandas are still endangered, in their habitats, we need more people to understand about the pandas and how endangered they really are.

Duke University ecologist, Stuart Pimm said:

“Everyone is enormously excited about baby pandas because they are undeniably attractive …So by having pandas in zoos it really engages people, it really is about getting people to care, and that’s important.”

Fascinated how the zookeepers switch the babies very cleverly, watch below:

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