Tue, Jan 07, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Panda baby debut draws crowds to Taipei’s zoo

Staff writer, with CNA

Visitors crowd in to get a glance of Yuan Zai, the first Taiwan-born panda, and her mother, Yuan Yuan, inside their enclosure at the Taipei City Zoo yesterday.

Photo: Mandy Cheng, AFP

The public debut of a six-month-old giant panda cub Yuan Zai (圓仔) at Taipei Zoo attracted huge crowds, with 12,000 tickets for the Panda House issued as of noon yesterday.

A line began forming hours before the Panda House opened at 9:10am and the long lines remained throughout the morning, with some people growing impatient because the number of visitors to the panda enclosure has been capped at 19,200 per day.

Inside the area, the crowd screamed “Yuan Zai,” occasionally bursting into laughter or cheers and taking pictures of the cub that has created a big sensation in Taiwan since its birth in July last year.

The cub appeared unperturbed by the excitement as it padded around its enclosure, climbing up and down its perch and eventually taking a nap after about an hour.

While visitors gushed over the cub, its mother, Yuan Yuan (圓圓), munched on bamboo.

Around noon, Yuan Yuan tried to wake her sleeping cub, which drew even more excitement from the visitors, some of whom tried to rush back into the Panda House despite the staff’s efforts to stop them.

The number of tickets issued by the zoo for the panda enclosure as of that time stood at about 12,000.

“We are too busy to estimate the sales volume so far,” zoo store manager surnamed Lu (呂) said.

Yuan Zai was born after four years of artificial insemination attempts, using sperm from Yuan Yuan’s partner, Tuan Tuan (團團).

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