Squeaking, hairless and pink: twin giant pandas born at Madrid Zoo
Twin giant panda cubs were born at Madrid's zoo on September 6th in a boost to conservation efforts for the vulnerable species, whose numbers have been rebounding thanks to an international captive breeding programme.

The pair, whose sex is yet to be determined, are the fifth and sixth cubs of Madrid's female panda Hua Zui Ba and her partner Bing Xing, the zoo said.

After four hours of labour, the first cub was born around 8:30 a.m., while the second followed four hours later in what the zoo described as a "peaceful" birth.

Two technicians from China's Chengdu panda breeding base will assist local veterinarians in checking the health of the pink, hairless newborns, who will be totally dependent on their mother for the first four months of their life.

In July, Chinese conservationists announced they no longer considered pandas to be an endangered species, upgrading their status a notch to vulnerable.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature made a similar change to its classification in 2016.

Protected Too Late: U.S. Officials Report More Than 20 Extinctions
The ivory-billed woodpecker, which birders have been seeking in the bayous of Arkansas, is gone forever, according to federal officials. So is the Bachman’s warbler, a yellow-breasted songbird that once migrated between the Southeastern United States and Cuba. The song of the Kauai O’o, a Hawaiian forest bird, exists only on recordings. And there is no longer any hope for several types of freshwater mussels that once filtered streams and rivers from Georgia to Illinois.

In all, 22 animals and one plant should be declared extinct and removed from the endangered species list, federal wildlife officials announced on Wednesday.
The announcement could also offer a glimpse of the future. It comes amid a worsening global biodiversity crisis that threatens a million species with extinction, many within decades. Human activities like farming, logging, mining and damming take habitat from animals and pollute much of what’s left. People poach and overfish. Climate change adds new peril.

“Each of these 23 species represents a permanent loss to our nation’s natural heritage and to global biodiversity,” said Bridget Fahey, who oversees species classification for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “And it’s a sobering reminder that extinction is a consequence of human-caused environmental change.”

The extinctions include 11 birds, eight freshwater mussels, two fish, a bat and a plant. Many of them were likely extinct, or almost so, by the time the Endangered Species Act passed in 1973, officials and advocates said, so perhaps no amount of conservation would have been able to save them.

Conservation study: Fostering wanderlust benefits pandas
Research in Conservation Biology shows giant pandas would benefit from some unsuitable habitat across the landscape. In the ongoing quest to understand what makes a good wildlife habitat, surprising new research shows there may be too much of a good thing when it comes to pinpointing optimal conditions. Embracing somewhat reduced standards can be good news to conservation managers.

Research by Michigan State University (MSU) scientists shows that an animal – in this case a giant panda - should be happy enough to thrive, but not so content they don’t want to move around and find new mates.
The research in this month’s Conservation Biology has broader implications– it is not necessary to have 100 percent of the area as habitat to support pandas, and in fact pandas would benefit from some unsuitable habitat across the landscape.

“This work provides hope to balance needs for ecological sustainability and human well-being,” said Jianguo “Jack” Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and a paper co-author. “Our results show it is possible for both pandas and humans to thrive across coupled human and natural systems.”

Managing habitat across the world to ensure wildlife – especially wildlife like giant pandas that are considered threatened – can both thrive and move around enough to ensure good genetic diversity. Scientists across the world have worried about habitat loss and fragmentation leaving animals isolated, eventually using up resources or not being able to find new mates and avoid inbreeding.

Lots of things can break up suitable wildlife habitat – humans build roads or develop properties, wildfires can burn forests, or in the case of pandas, natural cycles result in bamboo flowering and die-off events. Climate change can disrupt habitat too, with previously suitable habitat conditions changing to unsuitable due to changing temperature and precipitation patterns.

Having ways for wildlife to get from one patch of habitat to another help can solve the problem. What Connor and his team notes, however, is a hitch. There seems to be a level at which a slice of panda habitat is so nice that the panda doesn’t have a reason to seek another patch. They found that maximum gene flow in their studies panda population was found not when the entire landscape was habitat, but when about 80% of it was.

“As opposed to the potential interpretation of our results that maximizing the amount of habitat in a landscape can be bad for connectivity, I think that our research suggests a message of hope,” Connor said. “We can effectively manage panda populations by conserving and restoring habitat to intermediate levels. In other words, we don’t have to create perfect habitat to keep protecting pandas.”

Adelaide’s giant pandas to try natural breeding in hope of elusive cub
Within days, 15-year-old Fu Ni will climb her tree – the tree she climbs when she’s just about ready to have sex. She might bleat, a little like a sheep. It’s her way of flirting. Meanwhile, Wang Wang, 16, will start to twerk around the place, marking his territory. If Wang Wang tries to get into Fu Ni’s tree before she’s ready, she’ll swipe him away with a grumbling grunt.

Australia’s only two giant pandas are getting ready to rumble. Once a year, a tiny mating window opens. The notoriously sex-shy animals will have about 36 hours to try for a cub.

Dr Phil Ainsley is Adelaide Zoo’s life sciences director and head of the team of panda handlers that have looked after Wang Wang and Fu Ni since their arrival from China in 2009.

Until last year, the team of handlers, vets and reproductive specialists used artificial insemination in the hope of a panda pregnancy. But thanks to the pandemic, which kept a Chinese reproduction expert out of the country, and a better understanding of the panda (research shows it’s best to just “let them be pandas”), they now see natural breeding as the best option.

And the season is “incredibly close”, Ainsley says, so they’re on high alert.
“As soon as we see Fu Ni climb up her favourite tree, that’s an indication of her oestrus cycle,” he says. “In her natural habitat, that gets her out of the way of other males. She’s in control.

“A male panda will approach and indicate that he’s interested. If she’s not ready, she’ll grunt and swipe at him. When she’s ready, she’ll descend the tree and mate.” Wang Wang will also do a “panda twerk” as he marks the territory around Fu Ni, spraying his scent.
Bare Kind was created because we think customers should get a warm fuzzy feeling inside when they purchase from a brand.They should feel great in the knowledge that they are buying high-quality ethically sourced products, they are supporting an independent, AND they are saving animals. 
This is where our products come in - bamboo socks where 10% of the profits are donated to the animal on the sock! We support animal conservation and rescue charities, with a growing range of charities coming on board. We are so delighted to have finally released panda socks! They have been a long time coming and are already proving to be massively popular with my customers - of course why wouldn't they be, they're so cute!!
It would also be prudent to mention that these socks are not made from the same bamboo that pandas eat!! So the pandas are not going hungry to make your socks :)

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