Born free and growing up a wild child: Three stories from Disney's Born in China

Kid-friendly documentary offers a peek inside the worlds of snow leopards and pandas.

Disney's Born in China is narrated by John Krasinski.

Disney, Logo: Andres Plana/Metro

Disney's Born in China is narrated by John Krasinski.

Born In China, a new doc from DisneyNature opening Friday, follows animal families through four seasons. These vulnerable, magnificent species are rarely captured on film in such detail. The almost unbearably cute film features a bouncing soundtrack and lively narration by John Krasinski (yes, Jim from the Office). Here are three things we learned. 

Pandas must learn to climb trees


The baby panda Mei Mei steals every scene she is in. She rolls down hills, gnaws on everything (edible or not), and constantly tries to climb trees — much to the consternation of her ‘helicopter’ mom Ya Ya. But Ya Ya eventually had to let Mei Mei strike out on her own. Climbing is a skill all panda babies must learn in order to evade predators as their mothers, who spend 14 hours a day chomping down on bamboo, can’t keep an eye on them at all times.

Golden snub-nosed monkeys are ‘lost boys’


At the top of the film, Tao Tao the baby golden snub-nosed monkey has his world turned upside down — his baby sister is born, and his parents’ attention is diverted. He leaves the family unit to join a troupe of “lost boys.” These adolescent boys and young, single males — stuck at that awkward age between babyhood and starting families of their own — band together to eat, play and learn skills they’ll need for the rest of their lives (most of which will be spent in tree tops).

Mama chirus are machines


Male and female chiru, also known as Tibetan antelope, only hang out long enough to mate. The pregnant mothers set out on an epic, 700-km round-trip journey across harsh, high-altitude plains to give birth at traditional calving grounds. Then they head back, newborn calves in tow, to meet up with the males and start the process all over again.

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