There is always a chance animals born and raised, at least in their younger stages, will become too accustomed to the presence of humans to fully acclimate to the wild once finally released from their voyeuristic prisons. This could cause numerous problems for the animals, resulting in the possibility that the animals will not be able survive long once released. Well, Chinese researchers have found a way to help lower the risk, and it’s actually kind of terrifying.
Hetaoping Research and Conservation Center in western China has taken to dressing their workers up in panda costumes to prevent the baby pandas born in captivity from having too much contact with humans. This idea came to light with the death of Xiang Xiang, a five-year-old male panda who was released into the wild but was ultimately killed by a group of pandas, presumably due to his past relationship with humans.
The pandas are raised by their mothers, and any and all human interaction, which is limited primarily to dispensing medicine or other health check-ups, is done while gussied up in the finest black and white panda costumes.