No tourist leaves this city without visiting the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, with its 50 giant and red pandas. May is the end of the “falling in love period”, so in September we would have seen the very young ones. Nevertheless, they are not a pretty sight right after they are born.
It has all been said, but we cannot help it. These wooly creatures are just sooooo cute and lovable! They are the pride of every zoo and there is reason for this, except the fact that they are so rare and close to extinction. The way they munch away on bamboo leaves and stems is hilarious, lying in their back or propped up like a Roman patrician enjoying a feast. Their moves when stuffing themselves with their favorite diet are so human, made possible by their fake thumb.
After we watched some adult pandas enjoying breakfast, we thought that such adorable behavior cannot be topped. However, then we came to the area where the young pandas are kept, those 8 months to 18 months old. Their act was simply too much! They roll over each other, try to climb tree and fall off, get stuck between branches and use their swing for exercises that only a baby panda can think of. It was almost impossible to walk away!
The adjacent museum provides interesting displays and an informative video on panda habits and reproduction. The most surprising piece of information for us was one regarding female pandas, who give birth for the first time. They are so confused by the tiny hairless thing popping out of them that they whack the newly born with their paws. According to the video, this is why in the wilderness the first born never survives, only after this experience do female pandas become caring and loving mothers. In captivity, the newly born are taken from the mother immediately and bottle fed.