Yao Ming attends panda reintroduction ceremony in China
January 18, 2012
Former NBA star Yao Ming recently got to take part in a giant panda adventure. Last week, six pandas that were bred in captivity were introduced to the wild, according to USA Today. These black-and-white bears were allowed into an enclosed nature preserve so researchers will be able to observe them and make sure they can successfully live without being dependent on humans.
"I think it is most important to keep a balance between modern living and nature," Ming told reporters at the release ceremony, according to the news source. "We have been talking about it for many years, but it is never an easy thing to do."
There are only about 1,600 pandas thought to be living in the wild, and about 300 in captivity. If the reintroduction efforts are successful, it could mean that giant pandas may one day be removed from the endangered species list. The hope is that the enclosed habitat will one day provide a staging ground that will be able to hold as many as 30 pandas at a time. The publication reports that the goal will be to introduce at least 100 panda born in captivity to the wild.
Environmentalists and panda lovers can make calls to China to find out the latest news on the six pandas currently in the transitional stage.