The giant pandas sent by the Chinese mainland to Taiwan have each lost nearly four kilograms since their arrival last Tuesday.
Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, whose names said together mean "reunion" in Chinese, are taking their time in adjusting to their new home and the food prepared by the Taipei Zoo, Yangcheng Evening News reported Sunday.
The giant pandas Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan sent by the Chinese mainland to Taiwan have each lost nearly four kilograms since their arrival last Tuesday.
They only ate a total of 15.56 kilograms on Saturday. Their average daily consumption was nearly 40kg when they were in their homeland in Sichuan Province, the newspaper said.
The weight of the male bear, Tuan Tuan, dropped to 108.4kg from his previous 112 while Yuan Yuan weighed in at 110.2kg, down from 114, the report said.
The pair, both four years old, are expected to adjust to their new environment in two weeks at most, a zoo spokesman told the newspaper.
The pair are now tasting some bits of Taiwan-grown bamboo, an encouraging sign given that they wouldn't even touch it when they first arrived, he said.
The zoo stopped feeding Sichuan bamboo to the bears on Saturday and gave them various kinds grown in different parts of Taiwan, hoping to find their favorite.
The zoo has spent NT$300 million (US$9.24 million) on the panda enclosure and a four-story panda theme exhibition next door, and plans to spend about NT$10 million a year on the animals' upkeep. The pair will be attended by some 35 zoo staff, as well as a number of volunteers.
To keep the pandas calm while giving as many people as possible a chance to see them, the zoo will ask visitors to pause by the cage for no more than a few seconds and not to use cameras with flash.
Zookeepers traveled to the Wolong panda breeding base in Sichuan to learn how to make the bread which is a staple for one of the world's most endangered mammals.
About 20 experts and two keepers went to Taipei with the pandas, bringing a week's worth of food, including more than 400kg of bamboo.
The pandas are expected to be introduced to the public during the Spring Festival in January, depending on how they adapt to their new home.
(Shanghai Daily December 29, 2008)