New pandas at Shanghai Zoo


TWO giant pandas, Xing Er and Ya Er, arrived at their new home in Shanghai Zoo on Saturday night, Shanghai Television Station reported yesterday.

The two male pandas, both 2.5 years old, are cousins who were raised in Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

The younger of the two, Ya Er, was timid and sensitive to the new environment, at first refusing to enter their new home. Then the elder Xing Er approached and comforted him.

The language barrier is one problem that they need to tackle in adapting to the new environment. For now, they can only follow instructions in the Sichuan dialect, which is their native tongue. They will not be able to respond to the breeders if they speak Mandarin or Shanghai dialect.

“They seem to be doing fine in their efforts to adapt,” Tang Pinggui, a breeder from the research base who accompanied the pandas to the city, told the television station.

“They are not nervous and have started to eat.”

Visitors will be able to see the two new residents of the zoo by May 1.

Their female twin predecessors, Shuang Xin and Shuang Xi, left Shanghai on Friday morning after a two-year stay. Giant pandas reaching breeding age must return to the Chengdu center for mating to help enlarge the population.