American-born pandas doing well in new home

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, February 23, 2010
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Two American-born pandas, Tai Shan and Mei Lan, are adapting well to life in their new homes in southwest China's Sichuan Province 18 days after returning to China.

They will begin to receive visitors in about 10 days.

Tang Chunxiang, director of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda in Wolong Nature Reserve, where Tai Shan is kept, told Xinhua Tuesday the 4.5-year-old male panda likes the food and environment in his new home.

American-born panda Tai Shan in its new home in southwest China's Sichuan Province
American-born panda Tai Shan in its new home in southwest China's Sichuan Province on February 5, 2010.

Tai Shan keeps himself busy climbing trees, running around and eating bamboo. He is very energetic and has put on weight, according to Tang.

Chengdu's sunny weather seems to have calmed Mei Lan down. The 3-year-old female panda was quite upset when she first arrived at her new home at Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding. She lost appetite and snarled at people she didn't know.

Mei Lan is now used to her new home and eats at least 30 kilograms of bamboo and 300 grams of fruit every day, according Huang Mingxiang, director of the animal management department at Chengdu Research Base for Giant Panda Breeding.

The two pandas are both in sound physical condition and will receive visitors when the one-month quarantine is over. Many tourists, unaware of the quarantine period, have come to visit them in vain.

Li Maochun, a Henan tourist who wished to see Mei Lan, said it is a pity he couldn't see the panda.

"I will come back with my friends to see her when the quarantine is over," he said.

Mei Lan had lived at Zoo Atlanta since she was born in September 2006. Her parents, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, arrived in Atlanta in November 1999.

Tai Shan was born in July 2005 and was raised at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Tai Shan's father Tian Tian, 13, and mother Mei Xiang, 12, are due to return to China in December next year.

According to the agreements reached by Chinese and American authorities, giant pandas are only loaned to the United States for scientific studies. Pandas such as Mei Lan and Tai Shan's parents, and their cubs, must go back to China at sometime.

Giant pandas, known for being sexually inactive, are among the world's most endangered animals.

About 1,600 giant pandas live in China's wild, mostly in Sichuan and the northwestern provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu. Another 290 are in captive-breeding programs, mainly in China.

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