Yeah, Tao said that about them, but that doesn't mean it has anything whatsoever to do with the pictures in the actual photo essay. Here's a caption from the actual article, which doesn't speak, imply or even visit the idea that this is anything but the workers at the Panda reserve way of trying to minimize the impact of their presence.
Panda costumes hang at the Wolong National Nature Reserve. Keepers who interact with the pandas must wear costumes in order to mimic conditions of the wild. The costumes are made to smell like pandas too. Photograph: Ami Vitale