Every baby panda birth at our Zoo takes real teamwork between nurses, veterinarians and the staff that moves from the giant pandas Chengdu reserve (China) to Madrid, a few weeks before the possible birth until a few months after the baby birth.
Since then, two workers from the Giant Panda Breeding Chengdu Base join the Zoo team to assist the panda mother, taking into consideration the delicate breeding of this species, who is born weighing just a few grams.
One member of that team is Mei Yan, a famous nurse from the Chengdu reserve who has already traveled to different zoos and panda breeding centers worldwide. She assists with her experience in panda breeding to make the first veterinary tests and checks that the panda mummy stays in perfect condition.
Mei has explained to us that every birth is a challenge and that it may be a little hard at first, because ‘the baby and I don’t know each other.’ Besides, the days after the birth are significant because in her words, ‘we both need to set a bond of trust and to connect’.
She assures that the baby panda has now trust on her, which it’s getting bigger every day, as she is ‘very nice to me.’ This really helps her to take vital signs and check how the little panda is doing. Panda mummy Hua Zui Ba is ‘breastfeeding the baby very easily, and she constantly keeps her in her lap’, says Mei with a smile on her face.
Mei Yan spends her day to day taking care of the giant panda, a species that has recently become classified as ‘vulnerable’ (previously 'endangered'), according to the IUCN list, due to the conservation and recovery programs that have been launched in the last decades.
Last April, Mei Yan visited for 10 days the Dujiangyan panda reserve. There she had the chance to see the panda twins Po and De De, the elder brothers of Xing Bao who were born in our Zoo in 2010. She told us, that they remain together and they are doing great.
It is an honor for us to have Mei Yan at our Zoo and also, the collaboration of the Chengdu base.
Thank you a lot, friends!
Photo: Mei Yan at the Zoo Aquarium Madrid panda’s prairie while adult male Bing Xing enjoys his fresh bamboo lunch.