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'Grown-up' Yuan Zai seems at ease on first day of independence

'Grown-up' Yuan Zai seems at ease on first day of independence

Taipei, Jan. 7 (CNA) The Taipei Zoo's 18-month-old giant panda Yuan Zai was adjusting well to her new lifestyle after starting a life apart from her mother on Wednesday, according to the zoo. On her first day of independence, Yuan Zai showed greater curiosity in looking around her surroundings after waking up Wednesday morning, the zookeepers said. The zoo said the panda, which has drawn nearly 3 million visits to the zoo since last January, would likely show similar behavior over the next few days, but her separation from her mother would not be as difficult as it might seem. Although Yuan Zai and her mother Yuan Yuan are not living in the same enclosure, the pandas, which have a highly-developed sense of smell, can sense each other quite easily, zookeepers said. The zoo decided to separate Yuan Zai from her mother because pandas are generally solitary animals and also to free Yuan Yuan to try to mate with the zoo's male giant panda Tuan Tuan in the coming months. While Yuan Zai climbed up and down all day Wednesday, Yuan Yuan, acted normally, falling asleep after eating bamboo shoots. A visitor surnamed Lin, who visited the panda duo over 50 times last year, said he felt both a little sad over not being able to see the mother and daughter interact in the future but also happy over Yuan Zai's coming of age. Yuan Zai was born in 2013, after four years of artificial insemination attempts, using sperm from Tuan Tuan. The pair of giant pandas was given to Taiwan in 2008 by China to symbolize warmer ties between the two countries. (By Huang Yi-han and Lee Hsin-Yin)


Updated : 2021-09-28 01:40 GMT+08:00