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“Yuan Zai” and “Tuan Tuan” both know there’s a newborn cub in the family

Rearing their young is an important part of the reproductive process for many animals. In the Animal Kingdom, the young may be raised by their mother or father by themselves, by both parents, or by their entire family group. For Giant Pandas, the mother panda raises the young by herself. Fans have therefore wondered whether her father, “Tuan Tuan,” and big sister, “Yuan Zai,” know that there is now a new addition to the family after “sister of Yuan Zai” was born on June 28th. Taipei Zoo can now answer this question.

For about a week after “sister of Yuan Zai” was born, “Yuan Zai” and “Tuan Tuan” stayed in the indoor activity area instead of returning to their pens overnight. This was a temporary measure designed to give “Yuan Yuan” plenty of time to rest and recover after giving birth. It also allowed for better care of “Yuan Yuan” and gave the keepers on the “Father Team” space for milking. Keepers observed that “Yuan Zai” and “Tuan Tuan” were initially puzzled by this change in their routine. They soon got used to staying in the indoor activity area instead of returning to the pens after a few days.

The newborn giant cub “sister of Yuan Zai” had to be separated from her mother and hand-reared after she was born on June 28th due to a back injury. She was gradually re-introduced to her mother’s side after July 22nd. The hand-rearing stage required more people to work in shifts around the clock. A number of keepers with previous training and experience in caring for baby animals were therefore drafted by the Giant Panda House to provide additional support. The presence of several “strangers,” the scent of the newborn cub, the calls made by “Yuan Yuan” and “sister of Yuan Zai,” as well as all the noises from the extra work being performed by the keepers meant that “Yuan Zai” and “Tuan Tuan” probably already knew through their acute senses of smell and hearing that something was up.