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Pandas: The Journey Home

bigImage After thriving for 8 million years in the high bamboo forests of mountainous western China, it took only a few centuries of human expansion to push the giant panda to the brink of extinction. Yet today, with pandas numbering less than 1,600, there is new hope for the species—thanks to a massive effort by the Chinese government to turn the tide.

PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME is a groundbreaking natural-history film that captures for the first time the highly endangered pandas breeding at the Bifengxia Panda Base, and being prepared for release back into the wild at Wolong National Nature Reserve, both in the People's Republic of China. The film will be released to the worldwide network of 2D and 3D large-format/IMAX and digital cinemas in museums, zoos and aquariums in Spring 2014.

The filmmakers of PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME were given unrivaled access to the Wolong National Nature Reserve with the support of the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association and the China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda. The 40-minute film invites audiences to witness the birth, nursery care and teaching of panda cubs—all part of an extraordinary effort to save the panda in the wild.

Directed by Nicolas Brown ("Human Planet," "Expedition Alaska") and produced by Caroline Hawkins ("Meerkats 3D," "Fatal Attractions"), PANDAS: THE JOURNEY HOME follows the pandas at what could be a make-or-break milestone in their history and in the history of conservation itself. After decades of successful captive breeding, the reserve has hit its target number of 300 giant pandas and now must tackle the challenge of reintroducing breeding populations of the species to the wild. Oxford Scientific Films was granted permission to film the rare release of "Tao Tao"—a panda bred in captivity—and to follow a group of wild pandas in their mountain habitat.

"Pandas aren't hopeless animals that deserve to go extinct," Hawkins says. "They are actually incredibly complex and fascinating creatures. Not only will ‘Pandas: The Journey Home' show audiences the strides that have been made toward saving the panda in the wild, but it will also help them better understand and appreciate these iconic, beloved and charismatic creatures. They are more than just cute and cuddly animals to see in the zoo. They have a place in the wild and in the ecosystem."

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Pandas: The Journey Home - Trailer [Flash]

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National Geographic Entertainment Presents An Oxford Scientific Films Production For Sky3D In Association With The Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, Wolong Panda Conservation Centre, CCTV9 and Nat Geo Wild. Pandas: The Journey Home. Narrated by Joely Richardson. Executive Producers: Jeremy Bradshaw, Clare Birks. Producer: Caroline Hawkins. Cinematography: Chris Openshaw, Robin Cox. Writer: Nigel Levy. Composer: Samuel Sim. Editor: Mike Morley. Director: Nicolas Brown.

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"Film review – Pandas: The Journey Home" By Steve Duffy, theLFB

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