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Panda takes first steps into the world

Video Credit: PA - Press Association STUDIO - Duration: 01:10s - Published
Panda takes first steps into the world

Panda takes first steps into the world

This is little Fan Xing's introduction to the world and he seems quite at homeat Ouwehands Zoo in the Netherlands.

Since his birth on May 1 the young giantpanda stayed in the maternity pen with his mother Wu Wen.

The 14kg cub sleepsfour fours between meals, followed by short and careful walks and longstretching exercises.

Zoologist José Kok says: "As you could see, this isreally the moment that he starts to eat bamboo.

In the beginning, it was onlynibbling on it and playing with it, but now you can see that he starts to eat,and we only know if he eats as soon as there are pieces of bamboo in his pooof course, we didn't see that yet, but I think it will happen not far fromhere." Fan Xing's parents went to the Netherlands in 2017 from the pandarescue centre in China.

The bears were supposed to breed because there are notmany giant pandas left in the wild.

"You know, we are very eager toparticipate in breeding programmes and especially for the giant panda becausethe giant panda is the symbol for threatened nature.

So right from thebeginning, when we started this project, it was our aim to get the pandas hereand do the breeding.

Yes, but when the pandas arrived here, mum and dad, theywere only three years old.

So we had to wait another three years before theywere finally able to mate and get a cub," Kok says.

The young panda's name FanXing refers to Van Gogh's painting Starry Night.

Fan comes from Fan Gao, whichmeans Van Gogh in Chinese, while Xing, which means star, and symbolises hope,is also a reference to the panda's father Xing Ya, meaning Elegant Star.

Themother's name Wu Wen means Beautiful Powerful Cloud.

Giant pandas are solitaryanimals.

The male panda Xing Ya lives in a separate enclosure.

It took a lotof time and creativity to bring the two together to mate.

Kok says: "We alwayssaid we prefer the natural way, and we saw right from the beginning when thefemale is in oestrus, we had them close to each other.

Normally they liveapart, but when she was in distress we would have them a little bit closer toeach other, and we could see that, wow, they didn't hate each other, you know,and that was good news because if there was not this mix is good, good feelingbetween the two of them, you would never have a mating." Wu Wen now has atleast a few years of rest before another breeding attempt is made.

In thewild, pandas do not often get pregnant, as the bears live solitary lives andfemales are only fertile for a few days each year.

The Ouwehands zoo in Rheneis the only zoo in the Netherlands where visitors can see giant pandas.

Thezoo and the Chinese panda rescue centre made the deal giving the panda'sfamily only a temporary home.

Kok knows the panda's time is limited.

She says:"Well, the cub Fan Fan Xing, he can stay here until he's four years old andthen he has to go back to China and really normally the cubs would stay withmum for about two years.

So we have to see how the relationship between thesetwo develops.

And definitely, we're going to get them together again foranother mating in the future." Wu Wen and Xing Ya will stay in the Netherlandsfor fifteen years.


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