France’s first panda cub makes pub­lic de­but

Yuan Meng was in­tro­duced to his new en­clo­sure in the Beau­val zoo along with his mother

The Gulf Today - - WORLD -

PARIS: France’s irst panda cub made its de­but pub­lic ap­pear­ance on Satur­day, ive months af­ter its birth, to rap­tur­ous crowds — some of whom had trav­elled hours to see the luffy male.

Yuan Meng, which means “mak­ing a dream come true” in Chi­nese, was in­tro­duced into his new en­clo­sure in Beau­val zoo in cen­tral France along with his mother as ador­ing on­look­ers ringed the site.

“We got up at 3:00 in the morn­ing. My son ab­so­lutely wanted to see the cub,” said Del­phine who had trav­elled from the Paris re­gion.

“We felt we took part in a his­toric mo­ment. It was very mov­ing,” she said.

Zoo vet­eri­nar­ian Bap­tiste Mu­lot said the cub had been brought to the en­clo­sure over the past 10 days to fa­mil­iarise him­self with the sur­round­ings.

Panda re­pro­duc­tion, in captivity or in the wild, is no­to­ri­ously di­fi­cult be­cause the fe­male panda is only in heat once a year for about 48 hours.

But the num­ber of pan­das world­wide has re­bounded since the black-and­white bear was de­clared an en­dan­gered an­i­mal in the 1980s, thanks to ef­forts to pro­tect it and its habi­tat.

China has dis­patched its na­tional trea­sure to only about a dozen coun- tries, us­ing the an­i­mal as a sym­bol of close re­la­tions.

A fe­male and male mate ar­rived in Beau­val in 2012 af­ter high-level ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Paris and Bei­jing, but Yuan Meng was born through ar­ti­icial in­sem­i­na­tion.


Yuan Meng and his mother are seen inside their en­clo­sure at the Beau­val zoo in Saint-aig­nan-sur-cher, cen­tral France, on Satur­day.

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