Under normal circumstances, if someone told you that getting two black eyes and smearing yourself in urine and feces was all in a day’s work, you might not be so keen to take that new job.
However, dressing up in a panda costume and playing with some exceedingly cute cubs is hardly normal circumstances.
It is, in fact, a circumstance where you’d probably happily cover yourself in animal excreta for money.
Because let’s face it – you have to deal with shit on a daily basis in most other jobs, so why not take the opportunity to interact with some of the planet’s cutest creatures in the process?
That’s what keepers at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in China’s Sichuan Province do when they don full panda costumes and get in amongst the cubs being raised there, as seen in the delightful video above.
There is, of course, an actual reason for this behavior.
It isn’t just some weird fetish.
The panda cubs in question will eventually be moved to a protected wildlife environment, instead of living their lives in captivity, and this interaction is all part of the preparation.
If they were to become too attached to their human keepers, adapting to their new surroundings would be all the more stressful.
So to mask the distinctive natural smell that we all have – yes, even you – the fecal cologne is used.
Since becoming the literal symbol for endangered wildlife worldwide, panda populations have been steadily recovering; so much so that the species was downgraded from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ in 2016.
There’s still a way to go until the panda is completely out of the (bamboo) woods, but every step away from possible extinction is a step in the right direction.
It goes without saying that a world without these adorable, unique, and unexpectedly funny guys would be a poorer world for everybody.