China has launched an online live-streaming panda broadcast site, giving fans the chance to see real-time footage of the endangered animals doing what they do best – playing, sleeping and eating copious amounts of bamboo.
The website iPanda allows viewers to watch giant pandas living in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a facility for panda study and conservation located in Sichuan province.
As well as a live-stream webcam broadcast, iPanda also offers different sections showcasing blog posts and videos on various panda-related themes – including panda mothers, panda babies, and even panda-shaped foods.
A panda “encyclopaedia” section of the site includes illuminating facts on how giant pandas sleep (in a fixed position, sometimes with legs in the air); whether they prefer to be solitary or in groups (solitary); and if they truly are as slow-moving as they appear (they can be fast if they want to, but prefer to “stroll” rather than run, according to the site).
The blogs and videos give fans an intimate look at the adorable animals – one post, for example, reports news on two young pandas named Dede and Abao who arrived in China from Spain.
"When they first returned home, Dede and Abao did not understand Chinese," the post reads. "And they were not accustomed to eating bamboo shoots and buns.
"But after two weeks of training and feeding, they’ve adapted… Now, they react after hearing their name in the Sichuan dialect.
"Older brother Dede is especially clever and has even figured out how to peel bamboo shoots and eat the tender bits inside like other Chinese pandas.”
Visitors to the site have left thousands of comments on the live-streaming video. Many have been expressing their amazement at the fact that pandas do not seem to do very much.
“Pandas are so lazy,” one commentator wrote. “All they do every day is eat. After they eat then they sleep. Then when they wake up they eat again. How cute!”
“My god, after they’re finished eating, all they do is pass out!” another said. “This kind of lying around motionlessly…it’s like they’re suffering from heatstroke!”
Despite these shocking revelations, fans were enthusiastic about the site, which had amassed over 20,000 viewers and 3,000 "likes" by Monday.
iPanda is the first official resource to offer round-the-clock footage of the cuddly creatures, but other Chinese zoos have also been using internet channels to promote their pandas.
Recently, the Taipei City Zoo also began posting clips of a newborn panda cub on their YouTube channel.