After the excitement of meeting the new panda cubs it was time to celebrate the success of the international breeding program – 14 pandas on loan overseas and 13 young born (9 surviving).
Six young pandas born overseas have recently been returned to Bifengxia forming the largest group of overseas returned pandas. To accommodate these additions to the panda base, the Leopard Mountain section of the base has been rebuilt to now be capable of holding 10 sub adult pandas in 3 villas and 7 enclosures.
Two pandas from San Diego, Su Lin and Zhen Zhen, are the most recent additions to the population having returned to China on the 26th September and having now completed their quarantine period they were moved to join the other four overseas born pandas as part of the ceremony. They join Hua Mei and Mei Sheng, also from San Diego, Tai Shan from National Zoo in the US and Fu Long from Vienna.
At the end of the ceremony, guests were invited get changed into overalls to volunteer to care for the pandas – hand feeding them bamboo shoots, panda cake, carrots and apples. There were a lot of smiles at the opportunity to get close to a panda and for the officials from the embassy it certainly made a change to their normal routine – not a bad first time encounter with pandas for the Australian embassy reps!
Manager of Conservation Programs, Zoos SA
Photo 1: Marty (AusAID) hand feeding Su Lin on release from Quarantine.
Photo 2: Marty (AusAID) and Emma (DFAT) from the Beijing office of the Australian embassy with two overseas born pandas