Panda twins make de­but in Chengdu

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By HUANG ZHILING in Chengdu huangzhiling@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mei Lun hid in the bam­boo for­est, while her twin sis­ter, Mei Huan, ig­nored hu­man on­look­ers and ate bam­boo slowly in the Chengdu Re­search Base of Gi­ant Panda Breed­ing in Sichuan prov­ince on Tues­day morn­ing, as they met vis­i­tors for the first time af­ter a month­long quar­an­tine.

The pair of panda cubs, who re­turned to the base from the United States one month ago, have adapted to their new home, de­spite the el­der sis­ter’s shy­ness in the face of hu­mans, re­searchers said.

“Mei Lun and Mei Huan are healthy. They ate a kind of bis­cuit made in Zoo At­lanta and now have buns the base makes spe­cially for pan­das,” Wu Kong ju, a se­nior keeper and re­searcher, said at a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day.

“Vis­i­tors can see them in their den in the Moon Nurs­ery of the base,” she said.

Each day, Mei Huan, who has gained 2 kilo­grams since her re­turn, takes in about 600 grams of buns made of corn, soy­bean and oat­meal. Mei Lun, who only ate US bis­cuits, can have some Chi­nese buns and many bam­boo leaves.

The twins were re­turned to the base on Nov 5 from Zoo At­lanta in the US where they were born on July 15, 2013. They are the first sur­viv­ing panda twins ever born in the US.

Their par­ents, Lun Lun and Yang Yang, were sent to Zoo At­lanta in 1999 un­der a breed­ing and re­search agree­ment be­tween China and the US. Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment, cubs born in the US must be re­turned to China.

Luo Yun­hong, a young keeper, has taken care of Mei Lun and Mei Huan since the twin sis­ters ar­rived at the base early last month.

“They are ami­able and never fight each other. Some­times they hold each other when they sleep. They can be found eat­ing bam­boo with their backs lean­ing against each other,” he said.

All pan­das re­turned from over­seas are quar­an­tined for a month.

While some pan­das can adapt to the new en­vi­ron­ment on the first day of quar­an­tine, oth­ers trou­bled by long hours of trans­porta­tion are fright­ened and rest­less.

“A few fright­ened cubs even climb to the win­dow in their den,” Wu said.

But re­searchers and keep­ers are ex­pe­ri­enced in help­ing the new ar­rivals.

“We can calm them down by giv­ing t hem medicine and vi­ta­mins. All over­seas re­turned pan­das adapt to their new home when the month­long quar­an­tine is over,” Wu said.

They are ami­able and never fight each other. Some­times they hold each other when they sleep.”

Luo Yun­hong, keeper who is re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing care of Mei Lun and Mei Huan since the twin sis­ters ar­rived at the Chengdu Re­search Base of Gi­ant Panda Breed­ing last month

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

SHE YI / FOR CHINA DAILY

A pair of panda cubs, Mei Lun and Mei Huan, make their de­but at the Chengdu Re­search Base of Gi­ant Panda Breed­ing in Sichuan prov­ince on Tues­day af­ter they re­turned from the United States.

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