Bao Bao recently made her big move over seas and has made huge strides in her new home in China!
Bao Bao is a gorgeous giant panda and was born at the National Zoo in Washington to pandas on loan from China. Under the standard panda "loan" agreement, pandas born from "loaned" pandas must be returned to China before they are four years old.
To clarify, since a panda being on "loan" seems a little inhumane - Bao Bao is one of many pandas in a breeding program China put in place in the 90s. The program had China loan bears to 17 different international zoos for the sake of education and conservation. The only caveat was that any offspring born from these pandas would be set back to China before their fourth birthday to grow the panda population.
Bao Bao is still a little too young to be breeding, but her handlers are allowing her to adjust in the interim. "When Bao Bao gets to that age, we will arrange for her to meet many young males," said Tang Cheng, her new handler at the panda base told the New York Times, "and their relationship will be based on love." An extremely important addition because panda love is the purist love of all.
Three year-old Bao Bao explored her new enclosure at the Dujiangyan base of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province. It's very likely you've seen the panda base before. Almost every adorable Panda video on youtube or in a gif has come from the base.
After 30 days in quarantine, Bao Bao has been completely immersed in her new home, and she is adjusting quiet well. Handlers have introduced her to the local bamboo and soon, her panda base-mates.The three year old panda had a few big adjustments to make when she first moved. Used to her American keepers, Bao Bao has been learning her new commands in Mandarin instead of English. She also had to get used to the steamed cornbread buns supplied by conservation center - her favorite biscuits from her home in the West were not on the menu.
But like a true panda princess she is taking all of these changes in stride. The gorgeous girl is completely on display and seems pretty happy in her new digs. Her new keeper, Tang Cheng, speaks both English and Mandarin, and said that our girl is settling into a comfortable routine after she overcame her extreme jet lag... that's right, pandas get jet lag too.
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Bao Bao's new panda life consists of four to six meals a day and plenty of activity. Our girl has gained four pounds since her arrival, which is probably the strongest sign of her settling in.