Ami Vitale. Yeye in the Mist.

Ami Vitale. Yeye in the Mist.

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Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation center in Wolong Nature Reserve. Her name, whose characters represent Japan and China, celebrates the friendship between the two nations. Ye Ye’s cub Hua Yan (Pretty Girl) is being trained for release into the wild.

By breeding and releasing pandas, augmenting existing populations, and protecting habitat, China is on its way to successfully saving their most famous ambassador, and in the process, putting the wild back into an icon. 

National Geographic Magazine photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Learn more about Ami Vitale.

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