Taipei Zoo panda cub’s story makes headlines from Japan to Great Britain


TAIPEI–The heartwarming moments when a giant panda at Taipei Zoo was reunited with her new cub after more than a month apart has been making news worldwide.

The story has been carried by news outlets such as the American TV show CBS This Morning, Fuji Telivision in Japan, and The Mirror and Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom.

The cub Yuanzai was removed from the cage of her mother Yuan Yuan shortly after birth in July because zookeepers feared the first-time mother might inadvertently hurt her cub. Giant panda cubs are very small and fragile compared with the adults.

On Monday and Tuesday, the zoo released footage of its attempts to reintroduce the cub to the mother, who could be seen picking up Yuanzai, cuddling her and suckling her.

“If this doesn’t warm your heart this morning, I don’t know what will,” said the anchorwoman on CBS This Morning, introducing the story Tuesday.

Similar reports have appeared around the world both on TV and in print.

Yuan Yuan and Yuanzai are being given the opportunity to get to know each other because the cub, which now weighs 1,700 grams, is expected to open her eyes for the first time within a week, Taipei Zoo said.

“We hope that the first thing she sets eyes on is her mother,” said zookeeper Lee Yu-hua.

To prepare Yuan Yuan for full-time motherhood, the zoo has been monitoring her health closely, checking her hormone levels and encouraging her to breastfeed, Lee said.

A health care unit comprising two Chinese panda experts and doctors from National Taiwan University Hospital has also been monitoring the cub’s health, Lee said.

Nicknamed Yuanzai, which literally means “Yuan Yuan’s child,” the cub was born after four years of artificial attempts, using sperm from the only other giant panda at the zoo, Tuan Tuan.

After the cub’s birth, a stuffed toy that looks like her was placed in Tuan Tuan’s cage but he showed signs of anxiety and retreated into a corner, the zoo said. The pair of giant pandas was given to Taiwan four years by China to symbolize warmer ties between the two sides.