Panda-monium

OK, sorry about the awful pun, but I couldn’t resist. Seeing pandas is one of the highlights of most trips to China. Panda central is now the Panda Base in Chengdu, after the previous centre in the countryside was largely destroyed by the Sichuan earthquake in 2008.
Thankfully it was a quiet day when we visited. Our guide told us that on public holidays 30,000 people will visit the centre in one day! The other good thing about visiting pandas, for sketchers that is, is that they tend not to move too quickly and also like to sleep a lot.

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These two are older animals. The one at the top is demonstrating how to eat while lying on your back. The other has just crashed out.
The younger animals such as these ones are a bit more lively and enjoy playing with each other.
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Whether this is a recent behavioral development isn’t clear to me as pandas in the wild are generally solitary and while giving birth to twins is common generally only one baby will survive in the wild.
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If I thought I might escape the Panda Base with my resistance to the animal’s charisma intact but I was sadly mistaken. All it took were the 9 baby pandas which had been carried out to lie in the sun. Their gowned and gloved keepers brought them out and placed them on the grass where they slept on oblivious to the collective cooing and camera shots of the onlookers, me included. Soooo cute!
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