Ami Vitale’s Pandas are Everything the World Needs Right Now

Ami Vitale’s Pandas are Everything the World Needs Right Now

We’re still knee deep in winter, U.S. politics are a mess, and the UK is running out of iceberg lettuce. We could probably use a dose of Ami Vitale’s pandas.

Renown photojournalist and Nikon Ambassador, Ami Vitale, has covered everything from war zones to rhinos. But for a recent National Geographic story, she donned a panda costume and learned about the conservation efforts in China that have successfully moved the bear from endangered to vulnerable status in 2016.

Bear with me as I start from the beginning with the birth of a panda.

Photo by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo. Panda keeper Lai Yan Wu takes care of a newborn giant panda cub at the Bifengxia Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Sichuan Province, China. Newborn pandas are tiny compared to their mothers and born blind, so they must be carefully tended to either by their mothers or by the center’s dedicated staff. Read the @natgeo story in the August issue and online through the link in my profile. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa @instagram #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond4s #bifengxia #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #photooftheday #photojournalism #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #amivitale

A photo posted by Ami Vitale (@amivitale) on

We now paws for a moment of cuteness.

Pandas don’t believe in Santa Claws, but this little guy would make a great present.

They are sweeter than honey.

Photo by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo. In the incubator room at Bifengxia, cub keeper Liu Juan nuzzles a furry charge. Despite the pressure of keeping the babies alive and well, there are rare moments when the caretakers get to relax and enjoy the animals that depend on them. Read the @natgeo story in the August issue and online through the link in my profile. I am sharing stories of pandas, rhinos and more in Redwood City and Monterey, CA, for National Geographic Live this week! Visit amivitale.com for details and ticket information. #natgeolive @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa @instagram #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond4s #bifengxia #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #photooftheday #photojournalism #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #amivitale

A photo posted by Ami Vitale (@amivitale) on

A-bear-antly, researchers don panda costumes to make the pandas more comfortable. Didn’t fool me, but I’m not a panda.

Photo by @amivitale. A three-year labor of love is now LIVE on @natgeo and will be in the August magazine! Thanks to everyone who worked on this story and the incredible team in China who continue their work to protect these magical bears. Read the story and learn about the man behind so much progress: Papa Panda! This is a rare moment when a panda keeper in costume does a quick two-month health check on a cub at Wolong China Conservation & Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province, China. He first must carefully wait for the mother panda to leave while she forages for food and then quickly weighs and checks the cub. 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. The pandas must go through a series of tests over two years to be sure they are ready to live in the wild because after just one generation in captivity, they forget the skills they need to survive in the wild. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond4s #wolong #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #photooftheday #photojournalism #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #amivitale #🐼 @instagram

A post shared by Ami Vitale (@amivitale) on

Zang Hemin is known as PawPaw Panda for his conservation efforts. Lucky guy!

Photo by @amivitale on assignment for @natgeo. Zhang Hemin—“Papa Panda” to his staff—poses with cubs born in 2015 at Bifengxia Panda Base. “Some local people say giant pandas have magic powers,” says Zhang, who directs many of China’s panda conservation efforts. “To me, they simply represent beauty and peace.” Read the @natgeo story in the August issue and online through the link in my profile. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa @instagram #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond4s #bifengxia #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #photooftheday #photojournalism #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #amivitale

A photo posted by Ami Vitale (@amivitale) on

What did you say? You need video?

Video by @amivitale. Naptime at Chengdu Panda Base in Sichuan Province. Giant pandas’ diets do not provide them with much energy, but they are playful whenever they are not eating or sleeping! Habitat loss and reliance on bamboo brought pandas to the brink of extinction, but years of research have helped scientists crack the code to breeding pandas in captivity, and increasing efforts to preserve pandas’ habitat may help ensure their future. With an adult population estimated at more than 1,864 wild pandas and 500 captive pandas, they have been upgraded from endangered to threatened. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @nikonusa #chegndu #sichuan #china #climatechange #conservation #natureisspeaking #savetheplanet #panda #pandas #babypanda #ipanda #giantpanda #pandacub #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond5s #photojournalism #amivitale

A video posted by Ami Vitale (@amivitale) on

Read the full story on National Geographic, and find out more about Ami on her website.

Next Post:
Previous Post:
This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter. He co-hosts the "I Love Photography" podcast on iTunes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *