5 adorable panda photos to get you excited for Hong Kong's first baby panda

Ying Ying the giant panda is giving birth next week.

A small, squeaky, hairless mammal is about to make the world a lot cuter.

Last week, the staff at Ocean Park, a theme park and zoo in Hong Kong, confirmed that their giant panda Ying Ying is pregnant! According to BBC, she'll give birth to a baby panda within the week.


Ying Ying and her best panda friend, Le Le, were both given to Ocean Park as panda cubs in 2007. This is them in 2009, on their 4th birthdays. Photo by Antony Dickson/Getty images.

Ying Ying's baby will be the first giant panda born in Hong Kong.

Ying Ying took a baby-making vacation earlier this year to Sichuan, China, where she got busy with two male pandas. The breeding program also used artificial insemination to help the process along.

"To provide Ying Ying with the best pre- and post-natal care, we have minimized noises and disturbances in her environment and extended our monitoring to 24 hours a day," said Suzanne Gendron, Executive Director of Zoological Operations and Education for Ocean Park.

Ying Ying's name means "graceful." She sure is. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty images.

"In fact, since Ying Ying's first breeding season, the Park has been preparing for the arrival of our first panda cub, from setting up a well-equipped nursing room to sending our animal care team to panda facilities in China for training on nursing newly born panda cubs," Gendron added.

The reason for all the fuss? (Besides the fact that baby pandas are perhaps the most adorable creatures on the planet.)

It's really, really hard for pandas to breed successfully on their own.

Female pandas only ovulate naturally about once a year, and their pregnancies often aren't successful. Even during the late stages of pregnancy, reabsorbing the fetuses and miscarriages are common among giant pandas.

The world needs more baby pandas like these born in 2015 in the Sichuan province of China. Photo by ChinaFotoPress for Getty Images.

Unfortunately, due to destruction of their habitats, there are just under 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild globally, according to the World Wildlife Fund. That's why breeding programs like the one Ying Ying participated in are so important for keeping the panda population stable.

Ying Ying is expected to give birth very soon. And when she does, she'll have expert help by her side.

"To ensure the delivery would proceed as smoothly as possible, we have arranged for two of our panda maternity specialists to provide on-site advice and assistance," said Li Desheng, Ocean Park's deputy director of Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve Administration.

We'll be standing by for lots of cute panda baby photos, too ... like these cuties.

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Or like this little guy.

Photo by Courtney Janney/Smithsonian's National Zoo via Getty Images.

Nothing brings the world together quite like a baby panda. Congratulations, Hong Kong! We'll be celebrating your first baby panda with you.

Most Shared
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular