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When a baby panda is born, it's a big deal.

Because, seriously, who doesn't want more of this?


It's all fun and games until you have to put them through college. Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

Even though the wild panda population has grown 17% in the past decade, the bears remain critically endangered.

No, not even cuteness can save the pandas. Doesn't stop them from trying. Image via Thinkstock.

There are 1,864 pandas in the wild. While the numbers show conservation efforts may be working, pandas are still pushed out of feeding grounds by agriculture and other human activity. Land restoration and breeding advancements may be the key to more healthy pandas in the wild.

And what's better than one baby panda? Twin baby pandas!

These two panda sisters were born June 22 at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding to their mother, Kelin, who was artificially inseminated in January.

Images by CCTV+.

Needless to say, people are a little excited.

The babies are maintaining their temperature and getting enough to eat, two signs of good health.

Considering they'll grow to over 220 pounds, the cubs are downright tiny. Right now, they're as long as a stick of butter, and they weigh just a few ounces.

But they're more than just cute — pandas do amazing things for the environment!

Pandas are essentially a furry version of Captain Planet. They do a lot of the heavy lifting for China's bamboo forests by spreading seeds and helping plants grow.

Just chilling and saving the environment. Might take a nap later. Big day today. Image by STR/AFP/Getty Images.

If pandas go extinct, that spells bad news for the environment.

Without pandas, other animals and plants would be endangered, and it could mean the end of several food and income sources for humans.

That's why conservation efforts and research facilities like the one in Chengdu are so important.

When's the last time you helped anything by eating and pooping? Exactly. Photo by Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images.

So today, we celebrate Kelin and the Chengdu Research Base on the birth of two healthy cubs.

They're small and hairless now, but with conservation, research, and a whole lot of love, these sisters will grow up to lead long, happy, bamboo-eating, earth-saving lives.

To see more of the newborn pandas in action, watch this short video from CCTV+.

(Some of it is in Mandarin, but baby pandas are a universal language.)

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


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Democracy

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Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

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There's a phrase I keep seeing in debates over gun violence, one that I can't seem to shake from my mind. After the Uvalde school shooting, I shared my thoughts on why arming teachers is a bad idea, and a gentleman responded with this brief comment:

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Paul Rudd in 2016.

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Poor Brody was only able to get four signatures in his yearbook, two from what appeared to be teachers and one from himself that said, “Hope you make some more friends."

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She posted about the incident on Facebook.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like it’s getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook,” she posted on Facebook. “Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

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