During the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, my family had the opportunity to see the incredible, upcoming Disneynature film Born in China. The movie tells the story of three endangered animal families – devoted giant panda YaYa and her darling baby MeiMei, snow leopard Dawa and her two cubs, and the adorable monkey TaoTao and his family.
Born in China, narrated by John Krasinski, debuts in theaters on Friday, April 21, 2017. Make plans to see the movie during opening week April 21-April 27, 2017 when Disneynature will contribute $.20 of every ticket sold to the World Wildlife Fund.
Watch the trailer below, and then keep reading to learn more about these amazing animals. Don’t worry! I won’t spoil the “plot” for you. As a bonus, I will also give you a peek behind the scenes of the movie.
YaYa and MeiMei The Giant Panda
Wild giant pandas are only found in the mountains of central China. They were recently upgraded from endangered to vulnerable, and they number about 2,500.
It is hard to imagine that a 200-pound adult panda is born only the size of a stick of butter. Babies fully depend on their moms for 18 months and will venture off on their own at about three years old.
Bamboo trees make up 99% of their diet even though they have little nutritional value. Pandas spend more than 10 hours each day eating the 40 pounds needed to fuel their bodies. Pandas tend to live on their own which keeps them from competing for resources.
Dawa the Snow Leopard
Snow leopards are an elusive creature that easily blends in with its rocky mountaintop habitat. It is believed that only 4,000 – 6,500 are left in the wild. Sixty-percent of those live in China.
They have thick tails which help their balance in the rocky terrain. They can also wrap their long tails around their bodies to keep warm on cold nights. Unlike many large cats, snow leopards prefer solitude to living in packs.
Snow leopard cubs remain in their den where their mother feeds them until they can eat solid food. They observe their mother’s hunting behavior and learn to hunt when they are a year old. After a couple of years, they will leave to start their own solitary life.
The Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey TaoTao and his family
The golden snub-nosed monkey lives in the high treetops in the coldest parts of China where it can snow up to six months a year. It is believed that only 8,000- 10,000 of these precocious monkeys remain in the wild.
The monkey’s entire body is covered with thick fur to keep warm. They spend their days in the treetops and will adjust their diets based on what is available.
Baby monkeys start exploring at only a few weeks old and begin socializing at about two months old. The females work together to care for the children, and the males step in for protection.
The monkeys live in troops of up to 600, with subgroups of 20 – 70 during the winter. The subgroups consist of an adult male with his multiple wives and children or a group of “bachelors.”
A Peek Behind the Scenes of Disneynature Born in China
The Disney Social Media Moms influencers were treated to a question and answer session with producer Roy Conli. We learned the challenges of filming in some of the most remote areas of China. All of the equipment, from camping gear and food to photography equipment, had to be strapped to the crew’s back and carried in and out.
The snow leopard’s shyness, excellent camouflage, and rocky habitat made it almost impossible to shoot footage. It took three months to capture the first images of Dawa with the remote cameras. This presented a challenge because the photographer was allowed to stay in China for only three-week intervals. After each three-week period, he had to return to the United States and reapply for a new Visa.
YaYa and MeiMei photographers didn’t want the giant pandas to become accustomed to humans, so they dressed up as pandas to get up-close footage. The golden snub-nosed monkeys presented a different problem. As you can see from the picture, the monkeys are inquisitive and social animals. They didn’t think twice about exploring the filmmaker’s camp and equipment.
Learn Even More about Born in China
You can learn even more about the giant panda, snow leopard, the golden snub-nosed monkey, as well as the other Born in China animals by downloading the Disneynature Born in China Activity Packet from Walt Disney Pictures.
I hope you enjoy the movie as much as we did. Come back and tell us who was your favorite animal!