A Panda cub gets buff by exercising in his new exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. On Feb. 1, Live Science reported that the 6-month-old baby bear has been shedding pounds and gaining muscles by climbing all over his new habitat which is on view for the public. Xiao Liwu might look chubby, but he's learning how to climb and the exercise is helping make him more healthy.
"Xiao Liwu, whose name means 'Little Gift,' was the sixth cub born to the zoo's panda mom Bai Yun. All the San Diego Zoo giant pandas are on a research loan from China, the only place where the species still exists in the wild. Four of Xiao Liwu's siblings have already been moved out of California to join the Chinese panda conservation and breeding program," Live Science reports.
Though a panda cub getting buff is not earth-shattering news by any means, the little guys are so cute and people seem to want to learn more about them -- or just look at adorable pictures of them. Studying these animals in captivity is essential according to many researchers. since pandas are an endangered species, a lot can be learned by watching them in a controlled environment. Many say that captive breeding could save the species.
Giant pandas have become endangered because of two main threats: Human activity, and climate change. Low reproductive rates in the wild also plays a huge role for obvious reasons. There are said to be only about 1,600 giant pandas left on earth.
It is important for panda cubs to get buff and stay healthy. So far, the program at the San Diego Zoo seems to be doing really well.
© Effie Orfanides 2013