National Geographic has stunning photos of pandas born in captivity that are getting ready to be released into the wild.
The images, captured by photographer Ami Vitale, show the pandas and their caretakers as they get ready for life in the Chinese wilderness.
"It's one thing to raise animals in captivity before adoring crowds and another to ensure a species' survival in nature," Jennifer S. Holland wrote for National Geographic. "Whatever comes next in this bear's conservation may decide whether the giant panda becomes a relic behind bars or roams free in the wild."
The process for preparing the animals for life in the wild is meticulous: Keepers have to wear full-body costumes that smell of panda urine so the animals won't get used to humans.
"Like breeding, rewilding pandas 'will take trial and error, time and money,'" Smithsonian ecologist William McShea told National Geographic. "But the Chinese will be successful."
See these stunning photos of pandas born in captivity soon to be released into the wild
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© Ami Vitale / National Geographic
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