Behind the scenes of every cute baby panda, there's a mama bear.

On Sept. 4, 2016, the conservation status of giant pandas was updated from "endangered" to the less critical "vulnerable." That's great news!

After all, who wouldn't want to see more of these fluffy little faces in the world?‌‌

Ever wonder what a 5-month-old panda looks like? #worldwildlifefund #wwf #panda #babyanimals #adorable


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The announcement, made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, came after a documented 17% rise in the wild panda population over about the last decade.

"The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity," stated Marco Lambertini, the director general of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The public's reaction to an increase in baby pandas? "Awwwwwww."

GIF via Disneynature's "Born in China."

But there's someone else behind the scenes of these cute baby pandas and all the conservation efforts: the mother bears.

Panda cubs at breeding centers and zoos get a lot of help from their human caretakers. But for pandas in the wild, a strong mother-cub relationship is necessary for survival. Without it, all the international efforts to save the species would have no effect.

Here are a few things that make the mother-cub bond in pandas so special:

When baby pandas are born, they're about 1/900th of their mother's weight.‌

A newborn panda in an incubator. Image via iStock.‌

Newborn panda cubs average 3.5 ounces — about the size of a stick of butter. Yes, a stick of butter! They don't open their eyes for up to two months, and they're basically immobile for three.

Panda biologist Dr. David Kersey, an associate professor at Western University of Health Sciences, explains in an email, "Among mammals with placentas, the giant panda cub is the smallest offspring compared to the mother."

A young panda cub. Image via Disneynature's "Born in China."

Because they're born so early, wild panda cubs spend up to two years with just their mothers.

Newborn pandas are altricial, which means they're essentially helpless. For the first couple of weeks, Kersey writes, the mother rarely ventures outside the den, "spending nearly every waking moment rearing and nursing the cub." During this time, "she relies solely on energy reserves to sustain herself and milk production."

Even as the cub ages and the mother returns to foraging, it still relies on her for warmth, protection, food, and more.

Giant pandas don't live in groups and the males never stick around after mating, so the cubs spend time exclusively with their mother until they reach independence. For two years, the pair does everything together; every day is a lesson in survival.

By the time a wild panda cub leaves its mother, it has all the skills and knowledge it needs to survive on its own.

At around 14 months, cubs begin eating bamboo on their own. Between 18 and 24 months, they wean from the mother and the pair separates.

A mother panda and her cub. Image via Disneynature's "Born in China."

Giant pandas are still a vulnerable species, but their numbers are improving.

The WWF estimates that there are about 1,864 pandas left in the wild, spread across 20 or so pockets of bamboo forest. The species' biggest threat is habitat loss due to development in the region and climate change.

Image via Disneynature's "Born in China."

Despite their low numbers, the progress that pandas have made over the past decade is a great sign for the future.

But as Kersey writes: "Our work is certainly not done. The protections and efforts afforded to the giant panda while it was endangered helped in improving the species’ numbers." The future of the giant panda shouldn't have to rest solely on those mother bears. The species is going to need our help, too.

Want to learn more about these amazing animals? See "Born in China" during opening week and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to the World Wildlife Fund to benefit wild pandas and other threatened species.

Watch the "Born in China" video here:

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Disneynature's Born In China
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.




Others found this to be very relatable content.








And then things took a brief turn...


...when Carli revealed that her dad had been stood up by his date.



And people were NOT happy about it.





However, things did work out in the end. According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Carli told her dad about all of the attention the tweet was getting, and it gave him hope.

Carli's dad, Jeff, told Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn't even know what Twitter was before now, but that he has made an account and is receiving date offers from all over the world. “I'm being asked out a lot," said Jeff. “But I'm very private about that."



We stan Jeff, the viral Twitter dad. Go give him a follow!

This article originally appeared on SomeeCards. You can read it here.

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The dangerous duo was detained by the police, then released back into Wellington Harbour.

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