17 July 2009

Interspecies Cuteness: Dog Becomes Surrogate Mother For Pandas

Here's your "awww" for the day: two newborn red pandas, rejected by their mother, have found a surrogate mom in a friendly dog, who's nursing the cubs as her own.

The red pandas were born at the Taiyuan Zoo in China's Shanxi province June 25, and were immediately rejected by their mother as a large crowd of zoo visitors looked on, Xinhua News Service reported.

Zoo staff quickly began the search for a surrogate, and chose the dog from among three canine candidates.

"It's good-natured and has sufficient milk. The baby bears seem to like it, too," zoo staffer Ha Guojiang told Xinhua.

Unfortunately, being a surrogate has caused the dog to refuse to nurse her own newborn puppy, but Ha has taken over feeding the pup.

Red pandas, also called lesser pandas, are furry, tree-dwelling, raccoon-like mammals that are a protected species in China, like their black-and-white Giant Panda relatives.

[Source: NYDailyNews.com]