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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BH2Y4gVDC5Z/

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

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.

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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.

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