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Panda cub Yuan Bao makes first public appearance at Taipei Zoo

Man is reported to have set out at 4 a.m. to be panda's first visitor

Yuan Bao (left) makes first public appearance with mother Yuan Yuan on Dec. 29 (Taipei Zoo photo)

Yuan Bao (left) makes first public appearance with mother Yuan Yuan on Dec. 29 (Taipei Zoo photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The six-month-old baby panda Yuan Bao (圓寶) made its first public appearance at the Taipei Zoo on Tuesday (Dec. 29), with crowds of panda lovers rushing there early in the morning to take a look at the cub.

The exhibition room was filled with the sounds of camera shutters and exclamations of joyous surprise on Tuesday morning as tourists watched the baby panda crawling slowly on a pile of timber. Yuan Bao's mother, Yuan Yuan, sat chewing some plants in front, paying no regard to her child.

With dozens of eager eyes stuck on it, the 183-day-old cub suddenly stopped its movements and appeared to have fallen asleep after clambering for just a few minutes. Laughter instantly broke out in the exhibition room.

The zoo said the cub spends 70 percent of its time sleeping, as it is part of a baby panda’s normal development. After consulting with experts from the wildlife healthcare and medical teams, the zoo decided to show off Yuan Bao for the first time on Tuesday.

A man is reported to have set out at 4 a.m., traveling for two hours to be the first visitor at the zoo. The man, surnamed Chen (陳), said he had a day off and began queuing outside the Taipei Zoo at 6 a.m., three hours before it opened. He emphasized that Yuan Bao is adorable and the visit was worth all the effort.

Born on June 28 to Yuan Yuan, who came from China to Taiwan in 2008, Yuan Bao is the second panda that Yuan Yuan has successfully reproduced at the Taipei Zoo.

It is also the first time that the zoo, with the help of local experts, has managed to produce a panda through artificial insemination without the guidance of Chinese experts, who are not allowed to visit Taiwan due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the zoo.

Pandas have always been stars and guarantors of profits for the Taipei Zoo. To celebrate the first public appearance of Yuan Bao, the zoo launched limited-edition panda-themed tickets on Tuesday that can be collected by panda lovers.