Taipei pandas to share more time

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 - Page 3

Taipei Zoo yesterday released a video of giant panda Yuan Yuan’s (圓圓) first breast-feeding session on Friday with her one-month old cub Yuan Zai (圓仔), after the zoo put the cub into Yuan Yuan’s enclosure for the first time since it was born as part of efforts to increase Yuan Yuan’s nursing time.

Yuan Zai has been kept in an incubator since birth because of a leg injury, and has been cared for by zookeepers over the past month.

The zoo arranged a brief encounter between mother and cub on Tuesday last week by bringing Yuan Zai close to Yuan Yuan’s enclosure, before deciding to allow them to share the same space on Friday.

Taipei Zoo secretary Chang Chi-hua (張志華) said Yuan Yuan and Yuan Zai spent about five-and-a-half hours together in the enclosure. Yuan Yuan held her cub, causing Yuan Zai to cry for a short time before getting used to her mother and seeking out her breasts for milk.

Since Friday last week, the zoo has placed Yuan Yuan and her cub in the same room for several hours a day, and aims to eventually allow Yuan Yuan to take care of her cub for a period of 24 hours, he said.

“The first get-together between Yuan Yuan and Yuan Zai went well, and we will increase the time they spend together. Ensuring Yuan Yuan’s physical strength will be a primary concern for us before she can take care of Yuan Zai full time,” Chang added.

The zoo has posted updates on the panda cub’s progress since she was born on July 6 via photographs and video clips on the Web site:

The zoo said that Yuan Zai now weighs 1.64kg and is scheduled to be introduced to the public in October.

Yuan Yuan and her mate, Tuan Tuan (團團), were donated to the zoo by China in late 2008 and Yuan Zai is their first cub.