Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

France's baby panda makes public debut

Giant panda cub makes his first public appearance Giant panda cub makes his first public appearance
Bennie Garza | 14 January, 2018, 04:00

The name "Yuan Meng", meaning "the realisation of a dream" in Chinese, was given to the baby panda in December at a ceremony attended by its "Godmother", France's First Lady Brigitte Macron.

Visitors travelled from all over the country to catch a first glimpse of the cub on Saturday.

But the number of pandas worldwide has rebounded since the black-and-white bear was declared an endangered animal in the 1980s, thanks to efforts to protect it and its habitat. A female and male arrived in Beauval in 2012 after top-level negotiations between Paris and Beijing.

He weighed only 142 grams at birth, but now weighs more than 11 kilograms.

Zoo veterinarian Baptiste Mulot said the cub had been brought to the enclosure over the past 10 days to familiarise himself with the surroundings.

Two Chinese zookeepers are now staying in Beauval to train their French colleagues on how to take care of the baby panda.

"It is very important", said another visitor, Patricia.

Panda births are closely watched because they remain rare - there are only about 18-hundred pandas in the wild in China and approximately 400 in captivity.

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