The Connection Between Black Bears & Pandas

Wildlife Biologist Ben Kilham, Ph.D. is highlighted in the new IMAX documentary Pandas.

For over 20 years, Kilham has been raising orphaned black bear cubs in New Hampshire and later releasing them back into the forest. The cubs are raised in an 8-acre protected enclosure that provides them with the opportunity to socialize with other bears, forage for natural foods, such as acorns, beechnuts and green vegetation, and to improve their tree climbing skills. Kilham has spent nine hours at a time on walks with them. One of Kilham’s greatest successes is Squirty, a 22-year-old female, who has had eleven sets of cubs in the wild. Squirty still comes to greet Kilham when he visits her in the forest.

For the documentary Pandas, Chinese scientists wanted to take the teachings of Kilham and see if they could translate to Panda bears. So what starts as a cross-cultural collaboration becomes a life-changing journey for a team of scientists and one special panda named Qian Qian (pronounced Chen Chen). The film, captured with IMAX® cameras, follows Qian Qian on an exciting new adventure into the mountains of Sichuan as she experiences nature for the first time and discovers the freedom – and perils – of the wild side.

Pandas opens Friday, April 6.