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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Schönbrunn and the Pandas: Five Births, a New Man and a Sensation

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January 7, 2017: The panda twins Fu Feng and Fu Ban are five months old. The photo shows her and her mother Yang Yang. She still lives in Schönbrunn, while the young animals have found a new home in China.
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Yang Yang and Long Hui fathered offspring five times – all of the youngsters now live in China. Long Hui died in 2016, Yuan Yuan has been Yang Yang’s new partner since 2019, and the new couple has so far had no offspring.

“Everyone immediately took Yang Yang and Long Hui to their hearts, the visitors and our zoo team,” recalls zoologist Eveline Dungl. The joy was even greater when the first cub was born in 2007. It was the first panda in Europe to be conceived naturally. More cubs followed in 2010 and 2013.

A photo review:

A sensational birth

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Yang Yang caused a sensation in 2016 by raising twins. For the first time, a female panda has raised two cubs in human care without human help. In accordance with the contract, all five cubs were transplanted to panda centers in their natural homeland of China when they were two years old.

In the wild, the number of giant pandas has increased from 1,100 to around 1,900 since 1980. “China’s protection efforts are showing success. Schönbrunn Zoo is also involved in this. Financial support for the establishment of panda reserves is an important pillar of our cooperation. Since 2003, their number has doubled from 34 to 67,” explained the zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck in a broadcast. Another pillar of the cooperation is the exchange of knowledge. For this purpose, the zoo organized ten nature conservation management seminars with experts from nature and species conservation, which took place alternately in China and Austria.

Lovely shots from Schönbrunn Zoo:

How pandas tick

The third important pillar is basic research. Among other things, it was discovered in Schönbrunn that giant pandas are able to distinguish themselves based on their facial markings and that giant pandas are fully grown at around six years of age. Studies were also carried out on the sound development of young pandas in cooperation with the University of Vienna. Raising the twins in particular offered a unique opportunity for research. An evaluation of the pictures taken by the whelping box camera showed that none of the young animals received less attention than the individual young animals in this twin rearing.

Source: Nachrichten

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