Bao Bao the Panda Bravely Adjusts to New Home in China Without Delicious American Cookies
After leaving on a jet plane, Bao Bao, the former National Zoo panda princess, is adjusting to her new digs.
The 3-year-old panda recently finished her 30-day quarantine at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province, reports The New York Times, and she is now out on display in her new habitat.
From the start, there were a few adjustments for Bao Bao. Used to her American keepers, the panda is working to learn her commands in Mandarin instead of English. Additionally, the cafe at the conservation center doesn’t supply Bao Bao with her favorite biscuits from the West, instead she gets steamed cornbread buns. But, unlike the recently relocated Zoo Atlanta pandas, she is taking it all in stride.
Bao Bao has already mastered a few commands in her new language and is now nibbling on the corn buns with little complaint. Her new keeper, Tang Cheng, who speaks both English and Mandarin, said his charge is settling into a comfortable routine after overcoming a harsh bout of jet lag. Her days consist of four to six meals and plenty of enrichment. Bao Bao has gained four pounds since her arrival in China, perhaps the surest sign that she is settling in.
Bao Bao is part of the breeding program China set up with 12 countries in the 1990s. As part of this program, China loaned bears to 17 different international zoos, with the promise that any offspring born from these pandas would be sent back to China by their fourth birthday.
Bao Bao, who was born at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo in August 2013, is still a little too young to take a mate, but she has a whole slew of suitors waiting for the chance to kiss her paw.
“When Bao Bao gets to that age, we will arrange for her to meet many young males,’’ Mr. Tang told NYT, “and their relationship will be based on love.”