Pandamania: Where to see pandas in Europe, North America and Asia
On Monday, Dec. 4, the baby panda born earlier this year at France’s ZooParc de Beauval was officially named Yuan Meng. The naming marks a new milestone in the life of the cub, now four months old, who is also celebrated on a postage stamp. And “pandamania” shows no sign of waning.
Here’s a look at some of the world’s other star giant pandas and, in particular, at zoos that have recently welcomed baby pandas.
The German capital has been a top destination for panda lovers for many years. The city’s zoo was previously home to Bao Bao, who died in summer 2012, originally gifted to the country by the Chinese communist leader in November 1980. In fact, Bao Bao lived to be the world’s oldest male captive panda. Now, pandas are back on the bill with the arrival of two new additions in 2017, a female named Meng Meng and a male named Jiao Qing. German zookeepers are hoping to echo Beauval Zoo’s happy event, with the arrival of a baby panda in the next three years.
Pairi Daiza is one of 21 zoos in the world that are on the “pandamania” map. The Belgian zoo is home to no less than three individuals, including a cub born in the country on June 2, 2016. Tian Bao is a young male born to Xingh Hui and Hao Hao, who arrived in February 2014.
Tiergarten Schönbrunn, or Vienna Zoo, was in the limelight in 2016 with the arrival of two baby pandas. In November 2016, some 12,000 web users submitted suggested names for non-identical twins Fu Ban (male) and Fu Feng (female). Mother panda Yang Yang’s two offspring are now a top attraction at the zoo.
Madrid is one of four European zoos that can boast being home to three pandas. Its latest addition is a female called Chulina, a name meaning “Cutey” and paying homage to Chulin, the first panda born in captivity in Europe 34 years ago. The Spanish capital’s zoo is, in fact, something of a specialist when it comes to baby pandas, with four previous births: Chulin in 1982, twins Po and De De in 2010, and Xing Bao in 2013. All were males.
Several million visitors have already met baby pandas Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue, born in 2015. Panda parents Da Mao and Er Shun are on loan from China for a period of 10 years. The giant pandas arrived in Canada in 2013. The whole family can currently be admired at Toronto Zoo.
Atlanta, United States
At Zoo Atlanta, twins Ya Lun and Xi Lun celebrated their first birthday in September. Although giant pandas can be seen at other American zoos, this is the only place in the U.S. to catch sight of twin baby pandas. Those who can’t make it to Atlanta can check out the animals via a webcam, with footage broadcast on the official Zoo Atlanta website.
Ueno Zoo in Tokyo saw the birth of its first baby panda for five years on June 12. Like Yuan Meng at ZooParc de Beauval, the female cub was in the spotlight as soon she arrived in Japan’s oldest zoo. The panda was named Xiang Xiang at the end of September. Pandas can also be seen in zoos in the region of Kobé and in Shirahama.
France is the fourth European country to see the birth of a baby panda, after Austria, Belgium and Spain. In total, 22 countries worldwide have received pandas on loan from China, including seven European countries. JB
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