My friend Nicole posted on Facebook tonight that she couldn’t get enough of the photos circulating the web that depict wildlife researchers wearing panda costumes as they work to protect cubs in China’s Woolong Panda Reserve.
After seeing the photo she posted, I couldn’t get enough of these pictures myself. I mean, I really couldn’t get enough. I’ve been hunting for more around the web tonight for far longer than I care to admit.
The best of the genre show workers in full-fledged panda costumes — just like ones you could wear to a Halloween party. Yet the men have the matter-of-fact demeanor of movers — even as their cargo is adorable real baby pandas.
Here’s another one of my favorite photos:
The U.K.’s Telegraph has this excellent slideshow with a few more photos, plus background on the researchers’ noble efforts
One more picture is below. Unfortunately, the costumes here aren’t quite as realistic. But it’s interesting to note that the hats seem like they could actually be the same kind of trendy animal-themed winter caps with long ear flaps that were for sale on New York City street corners everywhere this winter:
Why are these photos so wonderful? Something about mixing the serious work of saving endangered creatures in the wilderness with the ridiculousness of seeing men going about their business in furry get-ups.
Truth be told, these conservationists have more than just panda costumes in their closets. To clean the enclosures without the pandas getting too used to human interaction, they also have come up with a grass suit. See it at work in this video: