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Out of all the toys that young children and animals have, there is always one that’s their favorite. Usually it’s a soft, plush stuffed animal like a teddy bear that they end up growing attached to and they take it with them on all their adventures and just about everywhere they go. If it ever gets lost, misplaced, or taken away from them, it can be a very distressing experience.
For one adorable baby panda named Xiao Liwu, his favorite toy happens to be a small green ball. As you can see in this clip of him, he absolutely loves rolling around and holding onto his ball and won’t let anyone take it away from him, not even his caretakers! He gnaws at it gently and hugs it tightly against his little chest, making it plain to see that the ball brings him comfort. He’s looks like the sweetest baby bear and it brings back childhood memories watching him play with his toys.
Xiao Liwu lives at the San Diego Zoo and has called it home ever since he was born there in 2002. These days he is a full grown Giant Panda bear but when this video was recorded he was just a few months old. He represents and is part of the continued growth and existence of a healthy Panda population.
These days Giant Panda’s are under threat and they’re now classified as an endangered species. Part of why they’re so vulnerable is that their range is small. They only live in a couple of mountain ranges in Central China and those areas are being developed more frequently with farmers and other industries clearing the land and forest. While no one knows exactly how many of them are still living in the wild, estimates place the number anywhere between 1,500 and 3,000.
In recent years, thanks to conservation efforts and diplomacy, China has been sending Pandas to different countries as part of an exchange program. Whenever a Panda is brought to a new zoo in a country they’re met with lots of excitement, celebration, and fanfare. Special habitats are constructed and a highly skilled team of handlers, zookeepers, and veterinarians are assembled. The conservation efforts of zoos are becoming vitally important for the survival of Pandas and Xiao Liwu is proof of how these programs are working.