On November 14, 2011 I visited Chengdu Zoo. We were welcomed by director Wang Qiang & his staff.
Chengdu Zoo has a rich panda history and was the first zoo in China to exhibit a giant panda. It was in January 1953 that the first wild giant panda was found and rescued. The panda was taken to the Futoushan Breeding Farm at the Chengdu Zoo. It was also one of the first to start with giant panda breeding.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the bamboo in the Min Mountains flowered and died. Bamboo is the primary food source for the giant panda, and once it flowers, its lifecycle ends. After the flowering many giant pandas starved to death. However, some giant pandas were rescued and taken to Chengdu Zoo until they had recovered. All but six of these pandas were released back into the wild. The six remained at the Futoushan Breeding Farm for health reasons.
In March 1987 with the support of the Chinese State Ministry of Construction, Chinese Association of Zoological Gardens, the State Forestry Ministry, the State Science and Technology Ministry, China Wildlife Conservation Association, and the Sichuan Provincial government, among others, the Chengdu Municipal Government decided to establish the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. The six sick and weak giant pandas formed the initial population of Chengdu Panda Base.
We can say Chengdu Panda Base is the child of Chengdu Zoo. And Chengdu Zoo is very happy to see that it’s child did an amazing job over the past 25 years.
Chengdu Zoo has currently 3 giant pandas: Su Su, Cheng Cheng & Yuan Xiao.
Yuan Xiao (male) was born on August 6, 2006.
His mother is Qi Yuan and his father is Lin Lin.
Su Su (female) was wildborn in 1983.
She was loaned to Safaripark Beekse Bergen in Hilvarenbeek, the Netherlands from May until September 1987.
She gave birth to 5 cubs. The most famous are Ke Bi and Mei Mei (Adventure World’s super panda mother, who died in 2008).
Cheng Cheng (female) was born on September 24, 1985 at the Chengdu Zoo.
Her mother is Mei Mei and her father is Qiang Qiang.
In 1988 she was loaned to 3 Japanese Zoos (Okayama, Hakodate & Adventure World Wakayama).
From May 1 until September 17, 1989 she lived at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Canada.
She gave birth to 8 cubs. The most famous are Cheng Ji & Cheng Gong, and ofcoures Hua Zui Ba (Zoo Madrid’s panda mother).
Su Su & Cheng Cheng are real senior pandas. We don’t often see this, so most people don’t know that they need special care. They receive a special milk for old pandas with some medication to keep them clear and healthy. You can see how keeper Mo Fan prepares the milk while Cheng Cheng was waiting for her favorite time of the day. After the milk I could feed her an apple.
Pambassador Jeroen Jacobs