Left Menu
Development News Edition

Happiness and Harmony: 'Big step forward' as twin pandas grow

PTI | Beijing | Updated: 14-06-2019 13:38 IST | Created: 14-06-2019 13:21 IST
Happiness and Harmony: 'Big step forward' as twin pandas grow
The birth of Hehe and his younger sister Meimei, on July 25 last year in the Hetaoping panda base, was a success in China's attempt to introduce genes of wild pandas into the captive population.

Born to a wild father and captive mother, nearly one-year-old twin pandas roll on the grass in a conservation base in southwest China, marking an important achievement in the preservation of the country's beloved animal. Pandas are listed as a vulnerable species, but conservation efforts have helped reduce their danger of extinction.

The pair, named Hehe (meaning Harmony, pronounced Huh-huh) and Meimei (Happiness, pronounced May-may), were taken out of a dormitory on a bright sunny day this week to gulp milk and munch bamboo in front of some 100 visitors. After eating, the cubs tumbled on the grass and played on a swing before they were returned to their cool dormitory for a noon nap.

The birth of Hehe and his younger sister Meimei, on July 25 last year in the Hetaoping panda base, was a success in China's attempt to introduce genes of wild pandas into the captive population. The achievement was recognised by Guinness World Records on Wednesday.

The twins now live in the Shenshuping panda base in Sichuan province, with 70 other pandas. There is a 50 per cent chance for panda parents to produce twins, but making Hehe and Meimei was "very tough", said Liu Xiaoqiang, head of the Hetaoping panda base animal management department.

It took their mother more than a month to mate with a wild male after she was taken to a wild panda habitat. There was no human interference during the mating process. "The genetic diversity of the captive population is still quite limited, so we need to introduce some fresh blood from the wild," Liu told AFP.

The birth of the twins is "a big step forward" in enriching genetic diversity and the success will allow researchers to make similar attempts in the future, Liu added. Hehe weighs a robust 20.2 kilogrammes, and Meimei a healthy 17.6 kilos.

Giant pandas typically reach 100 kilogrammes when they are mature, said Li Feng, head of Shenshuping's panda kindergarten management department. Li has been taking care of pandas for almost 15 years and has raised more than 100 cubs.

She knows the names of all the pandas in the conservation centre by heart, and can easily distinguish between Hehe and Meimei: the bigger brother has an irregular swirl on his pink nose, while the sister has a round face. Hehe is a notorious troublemaker, famous for eating extraordinarily fast and stealing everyone else's food -- except his sister's.

Meimei, on the other hand, is very quiet and loves to follow her handlers around. "I hope they can... grow up strongly, healthily and happily," Li Feng said, "so when they mature, they can bring more babies to our panda family."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

Trump congratulates Polish President Duda's 'historic' re-election

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday congratulated Andrzej Duda on his historic re-election as president of Poland.Congratulations to my friend President AndrzejDuda of Poland on his historic re-election Looking forward to continuing our i...

Mexico raises 'disappeared' toll to 73,000 amid grinding cartel violence

Mexico on Monday raised the number of people listed officially as disappeared in the violence-torn country to 73,201, with most of them believed to be victims of brutal drug cartel warfare. The latest figures, revised from 61,000 in January...

California's new lockdown dims outlook for U.S. growth in pandemic

California Governor Gavin Newsoms decision Monday to reimpose restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and even ordinary office work to tamp down a surge of coronavirus infections is dimming economic growth prospects for the nation as a whol...

New Zealand opposition leader resigns two months out from election

New Zealand opposition leader Todd Muller unexpectedly resigned on Tuesday after just over 50 days in the role, leaving the conservative National Party scrambling to find a new leader to face Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the Sept. 19 el...

Give Feedback