Zoo Atlanta Panda Twins Move to China, Don't Care for Country's Food and Can't Understand Chinese

The first panda twins born in the U.S. love American crackers so much, they have to be mixed into their food

American-born Panda Twins Return To Chengdu

Transitioning to life in a new country is never easy, even for pandas.

According to The Washington Post, Zoo Atlanta panda twins Mei Lun and Mei Huan, the first surviving panda twins born in the U.S., are having some trouble adjusting to their new home at the Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base in China.

The 3-year-olds have two main stumbling blocks: the country’s language and regional snacks.

Having grown up in America, Mei Lun and Mei Huan don’t know the Chinese commands used by the keepers, and prefer to snack on their old American crackers over the bread the base provides.

Pandas Can't Hang - Pets
Wang Qin/Chengdu Economic Daily/VCG via Getty

The twins are so enamored with the Western snack, that they are bypassing their main diet of apples and bamboo. To make sure the bears stay healthy, keepers have started mixing in these addicting crackers with all of Mei Lun and Mei Huan’s food, even giving them crackers with their water.

In an effort to eventually wean the animals of their cracker habit, keepers have started gradually switching out the crackers for the aforementioned bread. Mei Huan is okay with the new mix-in, but Mei Lun refuses to eat any food with the bread.

Both are still getting used to the new language that now surrounds them. The siblings will respond to their names, but are still learning the Sichuan dialect of Chinese used by their keepers for commands like “come here.”

The picky eaters moved to China as part of an agreement with the country. China lent Zoo Atlanta Mei Huan and Mei Lun’s parents, with the understanding that any babies of the pair born in the U.S. would move to Chengdu before they turned four.

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