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“Yuan Yuan” Gets Back in the Nurturing Groove - Fresh Milk is Best!

Three days have passed since "Yuan Zai's sister" was reunited with her mother "Yuan Yuan" on July 22nd (Wed). The keepers have been closely observing the mother-daughter interactions in 24-hour shifts.

On day 1, "Yuan Yuan" was overly protective of her cub and kept certain distance from the bars, which was completely distinct behavior, as she typically leans against them for a good pat. She also deliberately turned her back to restrict the keepers' view. 
After 6 hours, it was time for the cub to get a check-up. But “Yuan Yuan” did not want to be separated from her baby yet; even when the keeper brought out her favorite treat, honey, as a distraction, whenever the cub made the slightest noise, her mother would turn around to check on her condition. 
The keepers eventually managed to find an opening and removed the cub.
 Her body weight was measured, and she was found to be 21g heavier than before her return, which means the cub must have nursed from her mother in the interim.

On July 23rd (Thu), the duration of the cub's time with her mother was extended to 10 hours in accordance with the "Baby return" plan.
At around 9:30 AM, the keeper returned "Yuan Zai's sister" to her mother for a second time. The keeper's observations showed that after having spent a day together, "Yuan Yuan" was no longer nervous, she was now more relaxed and stopped trying to hide the cub all the time; it was also observed that "Yuan Yuan" was nursing during this time. At 14:49 in the afternoon, the keeper saw "Yuan Zai's sister" nursing from both her mother's left and right breasts for more than 10 minutes. "Yuan Zai's sister" seemed content, there was even milk dribbling from the corner of her mouth. Fresh milk from mommy seemed particularly delicious!

During the 10 hours she spent with her mother on that second day, "Yuan Zai's sister" gained 28g. The keepers also observed that during those two days, "Yuan Yuan" licked the cub around the anus on several occasions to stimulate both urination and defecation; she then licked the cub clean.
Once the mother and daughter both ate their fill, they fell asleep together in each other's embrace. "Yuan Yuan" was able to get back in the groove of motherhood so quickly thanks to the "stuffed cub" training method. "Yuan Yuan's" strong maternal instincts were a great relief to all of her nursemaids as well.